Rafael Nadal looks to continue his stunning run on clay on Thursday evening, taking on Diego Schwartzman for a spot in the quarter finals. The likely opponent for the winner will be Dominic Thiem, who was the last person to beat Nadal on clay – beating the World No.1 in Rome.
Nadal made it 20 matches and 48 sets won consecutively with another easy win, this time over Gael Monfils. He was full of confidence after the 6-3 6-1 win. “I have done a lot of things well since I came back,” said Nadal. “I play with the right intensity, the right focus all the time. My backhand is working great. The forehand working well, too, as always, more or less. But the backhand is a shot that is working well.”
Schwartzman came through a tough three setter against the veteran Feliciano Lopez 7-5 2-6 6-2. His two wins in Madrid have put him back in with a chance to match his current career high ranking of 15 although he will have been disappointed to have gone winless in Munich and Barcelona prior. At 0-4 against Nadal, he won’t be holding out much chance of victory but may be able to keep it respectable. Their last clay meeting was a 6-4 6-4 victory for Nadal last year in Monte Carlo.
It seems like Nadal can only be stopped by injury this year on the clay but thankfully he is showing no sign of struggling with the injury that saw him out for over 2 months. “What I am most pleased with is I am recovered from my injury. That makes me feel strong and [I] go on court with confidence [knowing] that I can [compete in] tough matches. That’s important for me especially on this surface.” he said.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets