June 5, 2012 in Sports

So far, Nadal better than ever on clay

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns against Juan Monaco of Argentina.
(Full-size photo)

PARIS – As is his wont, Rafael Nadal declined to assess whether the 2012 French Open is his best French Open yet.

Perhaps the question was too narrow.

Truth is, Nadal is putting together one of the most dominant runs ever at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament – or any major tournament, for that matter.

So far, he’s lost a total of 19 games through four matches, including Monday’s 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 victory over 13th-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina.

That’s the fewest to this point at Roland Garros since 1982, when Guillermo Vilas dropped only 16. Like Nadal, John McEnroe also made it through four rounds while losing only 19 games at the 1984 U.S. Open.

“I feel really comfortable, really at ease,” said Nadal, who is tied with Bjorn Borg with a record six French Open championships. “When the tournament is over, I’ll tell you if this was my best Roland Garros or not.

“For the time being, I’m still playing. So far, so good. But we’ll see. Things could change.”

He trailed 2-1 at the start against Monaco, one of Nadal’s best friends on tour, before reeling off the last 17 games in a row.

“I feel very, very sorry for him,” the No. 2-seeded Nadal said after improving to 49-1 in the French Open over his career.

Nadal is scheduled to play an all-Spanish quarterfinal Wednesday against 12th-seeded Nicolas Almagro, who advanced by beating No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth round.

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