Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Nadal, Murray advance in Barcelona

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BARCELONA: Rafael Nadal ran out his 31st consecutive match win at his home Barcelona Open on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals at the expense of Colombian qualifier Robert Farah 6-2, 6-3.

Spain’s world number two 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 here came in 2003 against the country’s current Davis Cup captain Alex Corretja.

Top seed Nadal, 24-3 on the season, has not broken stride since making tennis history at the weekend by notching his eighth straight title in Monte Carlo as he beat Novak Djokovic.

He will Friday face Serb fifth seed Janko Tipsarevic, who put out Frederico Gil of Portugal 6-2, 6-2 in their third-round match.

Tipsarevic 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 admitted.

“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.”

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 number 25 Raonic, who put out two-time semi-finalist Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-3, will finally clash in a match which should have been played in March at Miami had the Canadian not suffered an injury and been forced to withdraw to give Murray the walkover third-round win. (Agencies)

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