Nadal beat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 on the clay to take his winning set streak to 50 and eclipse McEnroe’s total which the American achieved on carpet in 1984.
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 comfortable win.
World number 16 Schwartzman served up a minor scare by breaking back for 4-4 in the second set, but Nadal responded immediately and closed out for a history-making win.
Nadal will next face the man he beat he beat in last year’s final, Dominic Thiem, after the fifth seed came from a set and a break down to edge out Croatian Borna Coric 2-6 7-6 (5) 6-4.
Coric served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and also had three break point chances in the eighth game of the decider before Thiem held his nerve to claim victory.
Previously In-form fourth seed Juan Martin Del Potro suffered a shock 3-6 6-4 7-6 (6) defeat to Dusan Lajovic, handing the Serbian the first win over a top 10 player of his career.
Lajovic will next face South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, who reached his first Madrid quarter-final with a 6-3 7-6 (7) triumph over Kevin Anderson of Germany.
Britain’s Kyle Edmund built on his second round win over Novak Djokovic by seeing off Belgian eighth seed David Goffin 6-3 6-3, and will next face Denis Shapovalov, who beat Canadian compatriot Milos Raonic 6-4 6-4.
The final quarter-final will be between second seed Alexander Zverev – a 6-4 6-2 winner – over Leonardo Mayer, and John Isner, who edged Pablo Cuevas 6-7 (9) 7-6 (3) 7-6 (4).
Know more about Sport360 Application