Rafael Nadal recorded his 31st consecutive win at his home Barcelona Open on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals at the expense of Colombian qualifier Robert Farah 6-2, 6-3. Spain’s world No. 2 improved his near-impeccable record at the event to 32-1 as he aims to lift a seventh title from his last eight appearances. His only loss came in 2003 against the country’s current Davis Cup captain Alex Corretja.
Top seed Nadal, who is now 24-3 on the season, has not broken sweat since making history on the weekend by clinching his eighth straight title in Monte Carlo, where he beat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
“I had a good start, but the second set was a lot more difficult,” said Nadal, after seeing off the world No. 66. “There are no easy matches out there. It was tough, but I’m into the quarters and feeling positive. Tomorrow will be even more difficult for sure.”
Nadal will next face Serbian fifth seed Janko Tipsarevic, who put out Frederico Gil of Portugal 6-2, 6-2. Tipsarevic, who has lost his two previous meetings with Nadal, knows he will be up against the world’s best on clay, but goes into the contest with a positive attitude.
“Nadal is absolutely the worst opponent anyone can have on clay,” he said. “He’s hardly lost a match here, but you have to go for the victory, aiming to just win a few games or a set is not enough. I’m playing well, I’m not too tired. I have fuel left in my tank for this match.”
Second seed Andy Murray crushed Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo in a powerful 6-1, 6-2 -display to set up a showdown with Milos Raonic. Murray, a quarter-finalist a week ago in Monte Carlo, reached the last eight again as he builds for the French Open next month. Murray and No. 25 Raonic, who put out two-time semi-finalist Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-3, had been due to meet in Miami last month, but the Canadian suffered an injury and handed the Scotsman a walkover third-round win. Murray has produced his best career showing in Barcelona this week after previously winning only one match at the Real Club de Tenis.
His win was his 25th of the season against five defeats; Giraldo lost his 15th match without a win against top 10 players.
“It was good, I started the match well,” Murray said. “He had played a lot of clay tennis already, so I was expecting some long rallies, but I got ahead and put pressure on him from the start. He started going for more and making some errors. I’ve never played Raonic, but he has a huge serve. I have to play a solid match. He can have some ups and downs, so if he makes errors and give me chances, I have to be ready to take them.”
Raonic, the 11th seed who has played fewer than 20 career ATP clay matches, produced an equally one-sided third-round win against Spanish sixth seed Almagro 6-3, 6-3 in just 67 minutes. Third seed David Ferrer, three times a losing finalist to Nadal, advanced over Spanish compatriot Albert Montanes 6-0, 6-2.
Spanish seventh seed Feliciano Lopez beat Finn Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-1, while Japan’s Kei Nishikori defeated Spain’s Albert Ramos 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.