Sports

Nadal Reaches Barcelona Open Quarter-Finals

Nadal Reaches Barcelona Open Quarter-Finals

Rafael Nadal extended his record of consecutive sets won on clay to 40 as he defeated Martin Klizan at the Barcelona Open on Friday.

World number one Nadal, the 10-time champion in Barcelona, was made to work by Slovakian qualifier Klizan, ranked at 140 and who had knocked out Novak Djokovic in the second round.

Klizan is the first person in that run to take more than four games off Nadal in a set but it was not enough and the Spaniard will face David Goffin in the last four on Saturday after the eighth seed beat Roberto Bautista Agut and it is hard to see anyone causing the 31-year-old a problem based on his current form. "I don't think I can win all the sets from here to Roland Garros", said 31-year-old Nadal, who is seeking to win an 11th French Open in Paris at the conclusion of the clay-court season in June.

"He played very aggressively and caused me a lot of discomfort... he was unpredictable and that caused me confusion. It was tough - I feel a little lucky to win in straight sets".

It was Nadal's 397th match win on clay in a career which includes 76 titles on all surfaces.

The Bulgarian was bidding to follow up his run to the semi-final in Monte Carlo, where he ran into the formidable Nadal, but instead fell to the 16-time Grand Slam winners compatriot. If it happens, then that would be very good.

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Nadal is aware that any hard moment can happen in every match, because he is not the only one to feel motivated: "What happens is that others want to win as well and playing well too", Nadal explained.

"I'm fighting, that's the most important thing", fifth seed Bedene said after reaching his sixth tour-level semi-final. "I need to be aggressive and play with the right intensity".

In the other quarter, comeback story David Goffin will face Roberto Bautista Agut.

World No 7 and clay court specialist Thiem was the last man to beat Nadal on the red dirt, in Rome past year.

Third seed Dominic Thiem of Austria, the runner-up to Nadal in Barcelona previous year, reached the last eight with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over Slovakian lucky loser Jozef Kovalik.


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