Rafael Nadal, seeking his 12th title in Monte Carlo, has a commanding lead in head-to-head matches on clay against the players remaining in the draw. (AP)

Rafael Nadal’s 2019 Monte Carlo campaign got off to a near-perfect start as he routed Roberto Bautista-Agut and eased past Grigor Dimitrov. It's an ominous sign for the remaining players in the draw—whom already had a major roadblock to overcome.

Going into the round of 16, Nadal held a 38-12 record against the rest of the ATP Masters 1000 field on the clay courts he’s dominated for more than a decade. 

Until he lost to Dusan Lajovic on Thursday, Dominic Thiem was one of three players left in the tournament that had beaten Nadal on clay, posting three wins against him on the surface. The enigmatic Fabio Fognini has managed two victories, and he's into the quarterfinals after stunning Alexander Zverev, 7-6 (6), 6-1 in the round of 16 on Thursday.

Of course, the only other player in the draw to beat Nadal on clay has been Novak Djokovic. The world No. 1 has a 7-16 record against Nadal on clay, but notably ended his eight-year Monte Carlo reign by beating him in the 2013 final. 

Nadal takes on Guido Pella next, who he has a 2-0 record against. He hasn't lost in the quarterfinals in Monaco since 2014 when he was upset by David Ferrer.

A few  players left, including Marco Cecchinato, Daniil Medvedev and Lorenzo Sonego, have yet to face the world No. 2 at all, while Borna Coric has beaten him twice, on hard courts. If they do play Nadal this week, they’ll be facing some rather long odds as history suggests.

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