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5 players with the most straight-sets wins over Rafael Nadal on clay

Dominic Thiem (L) and Rafael Nadal
Dominic Thiem (L) and Rafael Nadal
ANALYST
Modified 25 Sep 2020, 12:16 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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Rafael Nadal is famously known as 'The King of Clay' because of his enviable record on the surface. The left-handed player from Spain has won 12 French Open Championships, highlighting his near-unbreakable dominance on clay.

The 34-year-old has also been tremendously successful at the other clay events. However, Rafael Nadal suffered a rare straight-sets loss on clay last week when Diego Schwartzman ousted him from the Italian Open with a 6-2, 7-5 scoreline.

The Argentine broke Nadal five times in the quarterfinal contest, while he also secured five games in a row at one point during the match. Schwartzman joined his compatriots Guillermo Coria and Gaston Gaudio to become the third Argentine player to beat Nadal on clay.

Needless to say, not many players in history have managed to beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets on his favorite surface. It is pertinent to note that even Roger Federer has recorded only one claycourt straight-sets victory over Nadal in his entire career.

On that note, let's look at five players with the most straight-sets victories over The King of Clay.


5. Fabio Fognini - 2 straight-sets wins over Rafael Nadal on clay

Fabio Fognini is a former World No. 9 player.
Fabio Fognini is a former World No. 9 player.

Italian star Fabio Fognini is the only player from his country to feature on this elite list. Fognini, who was in sensational touch last year, beat Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters 2019.

Fogini's first straight-sets claycourt win over Nadal came in Barcelona, and he has a decent record against the 12-time French Open winner on the surface overall. He had defeated Nadal 1-6 6-2 7-5 in Rio de Janeiro during the 2015 season and followed that up with a 6-4 7-6 (6) victory at the Barcelona Open.

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4. Andy Murray - 2 straight-sets wins over Rafael Nadal on clay

Andy Murray is a three-time Grand Slam winner.
Andy Murray is a three-time Grand Slam winner.

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray has a 7-17 head-to-head record against Rafael Nadal. He had made it to the French Open final in 2016, but Novak Djokovic beat him in four sets to secure his first (and so far only) claycourt Major.

Murray battled with Nadal for the first time in 2007, but it took him eight long years to beat the Spanish player on clay. The Scot tamed Nadal 6-3, 6-2 in the 2015 Madrid Masters final to win his first ever claycourt Masters title.

Murray then recorded a 7-5, 6-4 win over Nadal in the same tournament the following year.

Also check out: The Complete French Open 2020 Schedule 


3. Gaston Gaudio - 2 straight-sets wins over Rafael Nadal on clay

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Gaston Gaudio won the French Open title in 2004, just before Rafael Nadal's dominance began. The Argentine star had also defeated Nadal 6-2, 6-2 in Hamburg during the 2003 season.

He then beat the current World No. 2 6-2, 6-3 in Bastad the next year. Although he did not allow Nadal a single set in their first two meetings, the Mallorca-based player bounced back with three wins in their subsequent four battles.


2. Dominic Thiem - 3 straight-sets wins over Rafael Nadal on clay

Dominic Thiem recently won his maiden Grand Slam title
Dominic Thiem recently won his maiden Grand Slam title

World No.3 Dominic Thiem has performed brilliantly on clay throughout his career. The Austrian player has made it to the last two French Open finals, and is among the favorites to win Roland Garros in 2020.

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Thiem trails Rafael Nadal 5-9 in the head-to-head rivalry, but he has three straight-sets wins over him on clay. The most recent entry in the list is the 2019 Barcelona Open semifinal, where he emerged victorious 6-4, 6-4.

Nadal had lost to Thiem 6-4, 6-3 in the 2017 Rome Masters quarterfinal, and in the 2018 season the Austrian had recorded a 7-5, 6-3 win in Madrid. After Spain and Italy, the 2020 US Open winner will look to register his first straight-sets win over the 34-year-old in France this year.


1. Novak Djokovic - 6 straight-sets wins over Rafael Nadal

Serbian star Novak Djokovic holds the numero uno spot on this list, with an incredible six straight-sets wins over the King of Clay on his favorite surface.

The reigning World No. 1 took some time to get used to playing against Rafael Nadal on clay. But when he did, he went on a tear.

In 2011, Djokovic handed his fierce rival two straight-sets losses in back-to-back tournaments. The Serb first beat Nadal 7-5, 6-4 in the Madrid Masters final, and he then secured the Italian Open trophy with a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

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In 2013, Djokovic won the Monte Carlo Masters by defeating Rafael 6-2, 7-6 (1). He repeated this feat in Monaco again two years later, but this time in the semis.

One of Novak Djokovic's most significant victories came at the 2015 French Open where he overcame Nadal 7-5, 6-3, 6-1. His last straight-sets win over Nadal came in the 2016 Italian Open quarterfinals.


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Published 22 Sep 2020, 20:24 IST
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