Sat, Feb 22, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Nadal breezes into Rio Open quarters

AFP, RIO DE JANEIRO

Rafael Nadal returns to Albert Montanes during their Rio Open match in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday.

Photo: EPA

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal breezed into the quarter-finals of the US$1.3 million ATP Rio Open on Thursday, but admitted afterwards that he was still feeling the effects of a back injury.

Nadal, in his first event since losing last month’s Australian Open final, needed only 74 minutes to rout Spanish compatriot Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-2 and book a date against Portugal’s 48th-ranked Joao Sousa, who eliminated 87th-rated Spaniard Albert Ramos 7-6 (8/6), 2-6, 6-3.

Nadal broke Montanes three times in each set and won the final four games of the match as he improved to 3-0 all-time against his countryman, having yet to lose more than three games in any set against him.

In other games, Oleksandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine beat Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), while Fabio Fognini of Italy beat Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 6-3.

DELRAY BEACH OPEN

AFP, DELRAY BEACH, Florida

US second seed John Isner won the last five points of a third-set tie-breaker on Thursday to reach the ATP Delray Beach Open quarter-finals, while a left-hip injury derailed third-seeded Kei Nishikori, who had to withdraw.

Isner, playing his first event since a right-ankle injury forced him to retire from his first match at the Australian Open, rallied to down Israel’s Dudi Sela 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5).

Into the last eight at Delray for the third year in a row, Isner is next to face US qualifier Rhyne Williams, who eliminated Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 6-2.

Gabashvili, seeking his first title at the US$474,000 event, advanced to a quarter-final against Croatian seventh seed Marin Cilic, who eliminated the US’ Ryan Harrison 6-3, 6-4 in 74 minutes.

OPEN 13

AP, MARSEILLE, France

Third-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia reached the Open 13 quarter-finals on Thursday after a hard-fought 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, while fourth-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy lost 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 to Michael Llodra of France.

Gulbis had 23 aces, but needed more than two hours to win, while Seppi dropped his serve twice against Llodra, who had 14 aces.

Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff also secured an upset, beating seventh-seeded Julien Benneteau 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.

Fifth-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia, No. 6 Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France and No. 8 Nicolas Mahut of France progressed.

Dodig beat Germany’s Tobias Kamke 6-7 (7/4), 6-0, 6-3, Roger-Vasselin advanced with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 win against Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, and Mahut won 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 against Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania.

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