That is up until this past Friday, when a 7-5, 6-3 loss to Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Masters quarterfinals ended his 50 straight set record.
The big-serving South African, who had reached the last four of a Masters tournament for the first time in his career, was aiming to go one step further by reaching his fourth ATP Tour final the season..
German second seed Alexander Zverev swept past Canada's Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-1 on Saturday (May 12) to reach the Madrid Masters final.
Raven Klaasen and doubles partner Michael Venus of New Zealand were knocked out in the quarter-finals earlier in the week, while Anderson was eliminated in the opening round in a rare doubles appearance.
"I've been in this moment before", Zverev said. The NextGen star won five titles in 2017, including two Masters 1000 crowns.
The set was soon wrapped up regardless, before Thiem quickly moved two breaks up in the second as his opponent failed to live with a dominant display. "Mentally it was very hard because I know how tough it is to break her". "Today I lost the match".
Although Shapovalov showed a little resilience and finally held serve, his schooling was completed as Zverev broke to love to seal victory.
Mercedes in front again in final practice for Spanish GP
However, the gap to pole position was still over 1.6s, underlining the task facing McLaren to return to the very front. Haas and Force India had the best showings of the teams behind the top three of Mercedes , Ferrari and Red Bull .
Rafael Nadal suffered his first clay-court defeat in nearly a year when the world number one was shocked 7-5, 6-3 by Austria's Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Masters quarter-finals on Friday. Thiem had never beaten Anderson in their six prior FedEx ATP Head2Head matchups, but they had never played on clay, Thiem's surface of choice. "Every tournament is very important in itself and for me even more because I have a great story in all these events", said the 31-year-old.
"It's obviously a great final for kind of the future ahead", Zverev said of the meeting with Thiem. I'm not going to keep the No. 1 today.
Nadal was not overly concerned as the Monte Carlo Masters in April was the first tournament he completed since losing the final of the Shanghai Masters in October past year. The way I started was also well. Nearly everything worked out. "Now I'm in the finals again, which is awesome for me".
"He always had position to move around and to play a good shot, to strike the ball in a comfortable position", Nadal said.
Although Zverev stoppe the rot of losses to Thiem in Beijing in 2016, Thiem made good use of the Rotterdam indoor courts to once more come from a set down to halt Zverev.
Second-seeded Alexander Zverev beat seventh-seeded John Isner 6-4, 7-5 to also advance.
Zverev, 21, took less than an hour to see off Shapovalov, 19, the youngest player to reach the semi-finals in Madrid.