Rafael Nadal advances in Madrid Open, extends clay win streak


MADRID — Rafael Nadal continues to look invincible on clay, routing Gael Monfils in the second round of the Madrid Open on Wednesday to extend his record of consecutive sets won on the surface to 48.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion, coming off titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, beat Monfils, 6-3, 6-1. He has won 37 of his past 38 matches on clay, including 20 in a row.

Nadal improved to 17-1 overall on the season with his win over the 41st-ranked Monfils.

“I’m happy to start with a victory,” said Nadal, whose last loss on the dirt came against Dominic Thiem in Rome last year. “It was a very solid match in all aspects.”

Nadal is two sets away from breaking John McEnroe’s 1984 record of 49 straight sets won on a single surface.

Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, added another early elimination to his disappointing season, falling to Kyle Edmund 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

Edmund will next play eighth-seeded David Goffin, who defeated Robin Haase 7-5, 6-3.

Eighth-ranked Kevin Anderson defeated qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-2 to set up a third-round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

In the women’s draw, top-ranked Simona Halep beat Kristyna Pliskova 6-1, 6-4 to stay on track for a third straight title in Madrid.

Caroline Wozniacki‘s bid to return to the top of the rankings, however, ended with a 6-2, 6-2 loss to 20th-ranked Kiki Bertens.

“At this tournament, it’s really nice that I know I can play my best tennis,” Halep said.

The second-ranked Wozniacki needed to win the title in Madrid to overcome Halep for the No. 1 spot.

“At this tournament it’s really nice that I know I can play my best tennis,” said Halep, who next plays Karolina Pliskova, the sister of her opponent on Wednesday, in the quarterfinals.

Karolina Pliskova defeated Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-3, while Bernarda Pera was eliminated by Carla Suarez Navarro 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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