Nadal breaks clay record

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:34 IST

Rafael Nadal resisted any temptation to unleash his patented leaping uppercut or collapse to the court in glee.

Nadal breaks clay record

Paris:

Rafael Nadal resisted any temptation to unleash his patented leaping uppercut or collapse to the court in glee. Instead, he simply walked to the net for a subdued handshake after breaking the Open-era record for consecutive victories on clay.Nadal hopes to do more celebrating next week, following the French Open final. Still, Monday's first-round victory over Robin Soderling of Sweden was something to savor. Nadal even received a trophy for his 54th consecutive win on clay, which broke the record he shared with Guillermo Vilas."It's important for me to be in the history," Nadal said. "Fifty-four victories, it's very, very difficult. It's a lot of tournaments, a lot of matches. It's not normal, because one day you can have bad luck, anything."Budding rivalryThe 2005 champion is seeded second and expected to renew his budding rivalry with top-ranked Roger Federer in the final. But even though Nadal is 8-0 at Roland Garros and unbeaten on clay since April 2005, he said winning the next five matches to reach the final won't be easy."It's more than two persons who can win here, a lot more," he said. "I don't think it's only Federer and me. I think there are about 15 players."Among those joining Nadal in the second round were two other former champions, Gaston Gaudio and Juan Carlos Ferrero. Also winning was number 8-seeded James Blake, one of three players to beat Nadal this year. (AP)



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