BARCELONA, April 27, 2017
Rafael Nadal highlighted Thursday’s third round action at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, clinching his 50th victory at the Spanish ATP 500 tournament.
On the court that bears his name, the nine time champion defeated Kevin Anderson from South Africa 6-3, 6-4. Nadal didn’t face a break point, converting two of his own to advance in one hour and 33 minutes.
“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. “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.”
Nadal will next face Hyeon Chung, who emerged victorious from the battle of the NextGen stars with German youngster Alexander Zverev, winning 6-1, 6-4. The 20-year-old from Korea, who has yet to drop a set this week, won 73 per cent of his first service points and broke serve five times to prevail in one hour and 21 minutes.
Yuichi Sugita continued his great run, knocking out the tournament’s number seven Pablo Carreno-Busta with a 6-3, 6-3 win. The lucky loser from Japan saved all four break points he faced, capitalizing on three of his own to secure victory in one hour and 17 minutes.
“It was my best win. It’s unbelievable,” said Sugita. “This was very important for my life, so I’m really glad about it.” Sugita awaits fourth seed Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinal.
After receiving a first round bye and a walkover in his second round match against Bernard Tomic, World No. 1 Andy Murray made his debut in Barcelona this week. The 29-year-old Briton edged past Feliciano López of Spain, winning 6-4, 6-4.
Murray will next play Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The 10th seed from Spain, who finished runner-up to Nadal at the ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo last Sunday, emerged victorious from the all-Spanish-affair with Roberto Bautista-Agut, winning 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and nine minutes.