World No. 2 Rafael Nadal sailed into the quarter-finals of the China Open — his first tournament in 13 weeks — with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk yesterday.
The Spaniard, returning from a wrist injury, won 85 percent of his first service points against the German and took 1 hour, 45 minutes to seal victory and set up a last-eight clash with Martin Klizan at the ATP 500 event.
Slovak Klizan was leading 6-2, 3-0 when seventh seed Ernests Gulbis retired due to a shoulder injury.
Third seed Tomas Berdych moved up to seventh in the race to the ATP World Tour Finals in London after his 6-3, 6-4 victory against wild card Viktor Troicki, despite a poor serving display.
The Czech player only managed to make 32 percent of his first serves and now meets eighth seed and John Isner of the US.
Elsewhere on Beijing’s blue hard courts, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov beat Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final with Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, as sixth seed Andy Murray of Britain outplayed Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 6-2.
In the women’s action, Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova upset seventh seed Angelique Kerber in three sets, while Petra Kvitova also reached the quarter-finals without hitting a ball after the US’ Venus Williams withdrew with a viral illness.
Two-time champion Kuznetsova dropped the first set, but eventually prevailed 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the 2 hour, 8 minute battle that complicates her German opponent’s bid to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Second seed Simona Halep, one of the four players to have already secured a place in Singapore, battled past Andrea Petkovic of Germany.
The Romanian, who produced 91 errors, fought for more than 2.5 hours to tame Petkovic 7-6(4), 5-7, 7-6(1) and reach the last eight, where she will meet Serbian Ana Ivanovic, who downed Germany’s Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 7-5.
Meanwhile, Italian Roberta Vinci overcame Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-1, 0-6, 7-5, Aussie Samantha Stosur downed France’s Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-2 and in the later match, the US’ Serena Williams overcame the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova 6-1, 1-6, 6-2.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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