Nadal breaks McEnroe's 34-year-old set record

Schwartzman had to play against the break points in the very first game of the match, fending off the first with a service victor and the second when Nadal netted a forehand to avoid an early setback. "Let's not talk about that any more and let's continue on what we have ahead which is what I am concerned about".

McEnroe also won the Madrid Open Indoor title that year and Nadal may be about to follow suit in the Spanish capital, with Austrian Dominic Thiem up next in the quarter-finals on Friday.

After receiving a bye in the opening round, he fired 17 winners and went on to lose just one of 13 service points in the second set to seal the victory.

World number six Juan Martin del Potro crashed out of the tournament after Serbia's Dusan Lajovic came back from a set down to beat the Argentine 3-6 6-4 7-6 (6) in the third round.

He will now face South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who overcame Philipp Kohlschreiber.

British number one, Kyle Edmund, beat number eight seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-3 to move into the quarterfinals.

A break midway through the second set was enough for Lajovic to force a decider before he wrapped up his first career victory over a top-10 opponent in the tie-break.

Edmund will face 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov, after he bettered Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4 in an all-Canadian clash.

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His win over Diego Schwartzman means he has now overtaken John McEnroe for the longest set streak on any surface in the Open Era, after McEnroe won 49 straight sets on carpet.

Halep, who has won the tournament for the last two years, had looked imperious on her way to the last eight, dropping only nine games in three matches including Wednesday's win against Pliskova's twin sister Kristyna.

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Nadal, who is looking for a sixth career Madrid Open title, broke Schwartzman in the sixth game of each set and appeared to be on course for a routine win.

Russian former world No.1 Sharapova has shown only flashes of the play that has earned her five grand slam titles since returning from a doping ban past year.

Halep lost to Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3, ending her bid to become a three-time consecutive champion in Madrid. "You can't keep giving yourself a pat on the back".

"It was great to get those wins against those players", said Sharapova, the 2014 champion in Madrid.

"Even in the warm-up I felt so good today", Pliskova said.

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