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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

Tennis

Nadal moves closer to 8th Barcelona title
AFP
Barcelona, April 26, 2013
First Published: 16:19 IST(26/4/2013)
Last Updated: 00:59 IST(27/4/2013)

Rafael Nadal moved closer to an eighth Barcelona Open title in nine years on Friday when he breezed through two matches to set up a semi-final against Canadian fifth seed Milos Raonic.

Chasing a fourth title of the year after returning from a seven-month injury layoff in February, Nadal recovered from a slow start on the clay at the Real Club de Tenis to beat Benoit Paire 7-6 6-2 in their delayed third-round match.

The world number five had been set to meet the 13th-seeded Frenchman on Thursday before rain washed out the day's play.

After a few hours rest, Nadal returned to centre court to dispatch fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos 6-3 6-0 for his 37th consecutive Barcelona Open win.

Always a first
It was the first time he had played two matches in one day since the Monte Carlo Masters in 2009.

"I played much better than this morning," Nadal said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster TVE.

"Making the semi-finals is great news and I am pleased to get through a difficult day like today,” he added.

Ramos (world No. 64) surprised Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori 6-4 7-6 in their delayed third-round match before 2004 champion Robredo came back from a set down to upset third-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 3-6 7-6 6-3.

Raonic, the world number 13, beat Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis 6-2 7-6 before battling back from a set down against Robredo to win 6-7 6-3 7-6.


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