Lawn Tennis
Rafael Nadal Wins 100th Of Last 101 Clay Matches
By Ken Miller, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2008 9:30pm CST USA
Rafael Nadal Wins 100th Of Last 101 Clay Matches
Photo by Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA--( At the Open Sabadell Atlantico at Barcelona Spain Thursday, Rafael Nadal of Spain reach a career milestone as recorded winning his 100th clay court match of his last 101. Nadal, seeded number one this week and ranked number two in the world, defeated 16th seeded Feleciano Lopez also of Spain 6-4, 6-3 in a third round match.

Nadal's toughness on the clay surface has earned him the nickname "king of clay."

"That's not bad," Nadal said of his clay record.

Nadal has never lost a match at the largest clay court tournament in the world and one of the four grand slams, the French Open. Nadal is 21-0 at the Paris tournament.

"That's not bad," Nadal said of his clay record.

During the period of years from 2005-2007, Nadal has won the French Open three times (2005-2007), finished as a Wimbledon runnerup twice (2006-2007) and has defeated world number one Roger Federer of Switzerland at the French Open in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Nadal won a record 81 clay court matches in a row before losing to Federer in the 2007 Hamburg final.

In 2002 Nadal won his first ATP Tour match as a 15 year old. His heavy topspin groundstrokes and lefty slice serve have since then propelled him to the very top of men's tennis.

28-6 this year however in match play Nadal had struggled early in the year losing in the semfinals of the Australian Open to then unknown but very talented Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

At home on the clay courts last week at Monte Carlo, Nadal took his first ATP Tour singles title of the year at the Masters Series Monte-Carlo defeating Federer in the final 7-5, 7-5.

And with the wins last week and this week, Nadal again this year begins another sterling clay court season by positioning himself once again as the favorite for the French Open singles title.

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