Rafael Nadal is looking to dominate the clay court season yet again in 2018 after having suffered just one defeat in 2017 as he went on to win four titles on his favorite surface.

The Spaniard picked up titles at the Monte Carlo Masters, the Madrid Open and the Barcelona Open, before winning the second Grand Slam of the year at Roland Garros for an unprecedented 10th time in his career. The only loss he suffered came at the Italian Open against Dominic Thiem.

The 31-year-old is looking to have a similar impact in the 2018 season and has started his campaign in fine fashion after he stormed to the win, unchallenged, at the Monte Carlo Masters earlier this month. He lost just 21 games on the way to his 11th title at the Principality and has now switched his attention to the Barcelona Open, where he has progressed to the last 16.

Nadal will be favorite to defend his title in the Catalan capital, after his potential obstacles Kei Nishikori and Novak Djokovic got knocked out in the second round — the former retired with an injury, while the Serbian fell to Martin Klizan.

Rafael Nadal Nadal has broken the open era record for most consecutive sets won on clay. In this picture, Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his victory after his game against Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain during day three of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in Barcelona, Spain, April 25, 2018. Photo: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge is aware of Nadal’s superiority on the red dirt and believes there are only three players who can stop the Spaniard from winning all the major titles on clay yet again this season. He named Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Thiem.

Djokovic was drawn in the same half as Nadal in both the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open, but the Serb, who is just making his way back to full fitness after a long injury absence failed to get past the opening three rounds in both the tournaments.

Del Potro is yet to play on clay this season and will start his campaign at the Estoril Open beginning on April 30. Meanwhile, Thiem, who is the only man to beat Nadal on clay in the last 12 months, has already lost to the Spaniard once this season — the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters when he managed to win just two games in a 6-0, 6-2 thrashing.

“There are only three players who I see have the ability to stop Rafa from completing yet another sweep of the year’s big clay-court titles — Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro, and Dominic Thiem,"  Woodbridge said, as quoted on Tennis World USA.

Nadal beat Roberto Carballes Baena in the second round at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday and will take on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the round of 16 on Thursday. A win there will see him face one of Klizan or Feliciano Lopez in the quarter-finals.

David Goffin or Roberto Bautista Agut are likely to be his main obstacles to prevent him from making his second final of the year. In the other half of the draw, Grigor Dimitrov and Thiem are the favorites to make the summit clash, both of whom the world number one has beaten this year.