French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal becomes the fifth man in Open Era to win 900 matches
What’s the story?
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal added another feather to his cap by becoming the fifth man in the Open Era to win 900 matches on Monday at the French Open 2018. The Spaniard achieved it after recording a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4) win over Germany’s Maximilian Marterer in the fourth round of this claycourt Major.
Only Jimmy Connors (1,256), Roger Federer (1,149), Ivan Lendl (1,068) and Guillermo Vilas (948) are ahead of the southpaw.
Having lost just 187 matches all his career, the 16-time Grand Slam champion also has the best percentage of wins (82.8%) among the five.
In case you didn’t know
Nadal is the only player in the Open Era to have 400 match wins on both clay and hardcourts. The breakdown of wins per surface for the 32-year-old is - Hardcourts (425), Clay (412), Grass (61) and Carpet (2).
The heart of the matter
Although Nadal waltzed through the first two sets, dropping a total of just five games, he wasn’t able to enjoy the same kind of dominance in the third set. The 22-year-old Marterer, ranked just 70th, made in-roads into the Spaniard’s serve to go up to 3-1 as Nadal’s forehands kept misfiring.
However, he was unable to consolidate his service break and Rafa was soon back on track.
The set then headed to the tie-break as Marterer refused to be intimidated by his higher accomplished opponent. Nadal was in command in the tie-break following a tie at 2-2.
The German failed to control the length of his forehands under pressure and Rafa finally converted on the second of his match point after the World No. 70 sent his backhand long.
Nadal will next take on the 11th seeded Diego Schwartzman, who upset the sixth seeded Kevin Anderson in the fourth round. The Spaniard has a lopsided 5-0 head-to-head record over the World No. 12.
Do you think Nadal can win an unprecedented 11th title at Roland Garros? Have your say in the comments.