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Nadal beats Nishikori in 3 sets at Barcelona Open

The Canadian Press logo The Canadian Press 2021-04-22
Rafael Nadal holding a racket on a court © Provided by The Canadian Press

BARCELONA, Spain — Rafael Nadal beat Kei Nishikori 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open.

The 11-time tournament champion looked ready to roll to a quick victory after dominating the first set, but Nishikori responded with some fine net play to level it at 1-1.

Nadal broke Nishikori twice in the decisive set, converting his second match point by driving a forehand winner down the line.

The top-seeded Nadal is still searching for his best tennis after being upset in the Monte Carlo quarterfinals by Andrey Rublev. He needed three sets to beat 111th-ranked Ilya Ivashka of Belarus in his first match in Barcelona on Wednesday.

“I didn't play a lot last year so I know that I will struggle,” Nadal said. “I have been improving and I'm on the right path. I know the process. It doesn't happen overnight.”

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Nadal will face Britain’s Cameron Norrie next. Norrie advanced after David Goffin retired in the second set of their match due to injury.

Nishikori won the outdoor clay-court tournament in 2014 and 2015 when Nadal was battling injuries.

Second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Alex de Minaur 7-5, 6-3, while Rublev got past Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-4.

The tournament was not held last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.


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