Rafael Nadal defeats David Ferrer to reach Barcelona Open quarter-finals

TENNIS

Rafael Nadal defeated his fellow countryman David Ferrer 6-3 6-3 to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open on Thursday.

Nadal suffered a surprise semi-final defeat to Fabio Fognini in Monte-Carlo last week, but he followed up Wednesday’s win over Leonardo Mayer with another tenacious display against his compatriot to reach the last eight.

The Spaniards were meeting for the 32nd and potentially final time, with Ferrer set to retire following next month’s Madrid Masters.

The pair have enjoyed an extensive rivalry in Barcelona, clashing four times in the final of the event between 2008 and 2012, with Nadal winning all of those meetings.

Ferrer’s last victory over Nadal came at the 2014 Monte Carlo Masters, but the top seed ran out a comfortable straight sets winner on an emotional occasion to claim his 17th consecutive victory at the tournament.

“This match was important for me,” Nadal said. “Yesterday I had a tough match. I took a step forward and was able to play with more energy.”

The World No 2 broke in the sixth game after a missed backhand from Ferrer and then overcame a brief rain delay to clinch the opening set.

Nadal secured an early 2-0 lead in the second but Ferrer fought back, producing an outrageous lob shot en route to levelling the set.

However, the 37-year-old then dropped his serve in the fifth game and was unable to make further inroads, with two double faults in the ninth game ending his hopes.

Ferrer, who left the court to a standing ovation, said: “I am happy to be able to finish this tournament on the centre court, playing against [Rafael] Nadal. I gave it my all.”

Two-time champion Kei Nishikori also advanced to the last eight in straight sets, defeating 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-1 6-3 in just 84 minutes.

Elsewhere, third seed Dominic Thiem eased into the quarter-finals with a comfortable 7-5 6-1 win over Spain’s Jaume Munar.

The 2017 finalist won a hard-fought opener which saw the pair exchange breaks of serve, but he stormed to the second set for the loss of one game to reach the quarter-finals in Barcelona for the third consecutive year.

Seventh seed Daniil Medvedev secured his 23rd ATP Tour win of 2019 with an emphatic 6-3 6-2 victory over American Mackenzie McDonald.

Two-time champion Kei Nishikori also advanced to the last eight in straight sets, defeating 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-1 6-3 in just 84 minutes.

Elsewhere, third seed Dominic Thiem eased into the quarter-finals with a comfortable 7-5 6-1 win over Spain’s Jaume Munar.

The 2017 finalist won a hard-fought opener which saw the pair exchange breaks of serve, but he stormed to the second set for the loss of one game to reach the quarter-finals in Barcelona for the third consecutive year.

Seventh seed Daniil Medvedev secured his 23rd ATP Tour win of 2019 with an emphatic 6-3 6-2 victory over American Mackenzie McDonald.