Rafael Nadal has moved closer to lifting his 44th clay court title and ninth in the Barcelona Open alone, by beating Ivan Dodig in the third round. The world no. 1 will face his Spanish compatriot Nicolas Almargo in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Nadal eased past Dodig 6-3, 6-3 after hitting 18 winners and seeing the Croatian make 23 unforced errors. The 13-time Grand Slam champion was happy to see his game lift, after a disappointing defeat in Monte Carlo a week ago. Nadal did not enjoy a happy outing in the first match in Barcelona as well, as the top-ranked player struggled his way past 103rd ranked Spaniard Albert Ramos 7-6 (2), 6-4.
Where to Watch Live
Quarterfinals matches start at 12.30 pm local time (4 pm IST). Global viewers can stream the live action HERE and HERE. In India, the live coverage will be on Ten Sports, whereas in the US and Australia, ESPN will broadcast it. To watch the action live online, click HERE.
"I think I improved everything in my game a little bit," Nadal said. "I'm happy with the way I played. I was a little bit more aggressive with more control on my shots and changing direction better than I did yesterday (against Ramos). I was able to hit a few winners with the right confidence. That's the important thing for me."
Nadal has a 683-133 career record and his win tally takes him on par with Arthur Ashe. The Mallorcan is raring to beat Boris Becker's (Novak Djokovic's coach) career record of 713 wins.
Last year, Almargo lost to Nadal in the final. This year, however, they meet two steps before the final as Almargo beat fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-3 in the third round.
In other matches from third round, Croatian 12th seed Marin Cilic beat Spanish fifth seed Tommy Robredo 7-5, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), while Colombia's Santiago Giraldo overcame Austria's Dominic Thiem 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.