Andy Murray stays perfect, Rafael Nadal hits 50 at Barcelona Open
Andy Murray made it 11 wins in 11 meetings with Feliciano Lopez while Rafael Nadal racked up a 50th Barcelona Open win as the two Grand Slam heavyweights reached the last eight on Thursday.
World No 1 Murray, playing his first match of the week after Australia’s Bernard Tomic scratched from their scheduled opener with injury, downed Lopez 6-4, 6-4.
His win in one hour and 49 minutes extended his perfect record over the left-handed Lopez to 11-0, a run which now includes two wins on clay.
Andy Murray will next face 10th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, the player who shocked him in the Monte Carlo Masters third round last week.
Ramos-Vinolas defeated sixth seeded compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
“I was happy to play today. It was nice to get through and have another match tomorrow,” said Murray.
“I didn’t feel so good at the start, but I played good tennis in some of the important moments today.”
Nadal moved closer to a 10th Barcelona title when he cruised past South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4 for a 50th victory in the Spanish city.
“It wasn’t a day where I took a lot of free points because the court was very heavy. But I was serving well, at a good speed and changing directions well,” said Nadal, playing on a court named after him.
“I had the chance to hit my forehand after my serve and take control of the rallies, so I’m very happy with how I played.”
Third seed Nadal, fresh from a 10th Monte Carlo triumph at the weekend, next faces South Korean qualifier Chung Hyeon who stunned German eighth seed Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4.
The 20-year-old Chung, who has yet to drop a set this week, is through to his first quarter-final since Houston in April 2016.
Japanese lucky loser Yuichi Sugita reached the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 win over seventh seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.
Having already earned the biggest victory of his career on Tuesday by defeating France’s world number 23 Richard Gasquet, Sugita scored a new career-best by breaking the Spaniard three times.
“It was my best win. It’s unbelievable,” said 28-year-old Sugita. “This was very important for my life, so I’m really glad about it.”
Sugita next faces Austrian fourth seed Dominic Thiem, a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 winner over Dan Evans of Britain.
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