Rafael Nadal set a new Open Era record for the most consecutive sets won on clay, as he reeled off his 37th and 38th against Roberto Carballes Baena in Barcelona.
The world No. 1 had matched Romanian legend Ilie Nastase’s effort of 36 sets won in a row as he beat Kei Nishikori to win an 11th title in Monte-Carlo and he overtook him with a 6-4 6-4 victory against his compatriot on Wednesday.
I need to catch the intensity, pace and concentration of last week.
The first rounds are always difficult and more when you come from winning a tournament last week. The sensations at the end of the match were better. It is a good victory seeing how the day has gone with players of the highest level who have lost.
I had to accept not having good feelings but I ended up winning the game.
Rafa has not dropped a set since losing to Dominic Thiem in Rome last season – a loss that ended a run of 17 straight victories.
Rafa will face another compatriot in the third round as Guillermo Garcia-Lopez progressed after two-time champion Kei Nishikori was forced to retire.
Sources: ATP World Tour, Metro, Express