ATP Barcelona: Rafael Nadal sets Fabio Fognini grudge match on day four

Rain caused some trouble on Thursday in Barcelona, but it did not stop the quarterfinal field from being set at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Most of the favourites advanced with relative ease, there were some surprise victors in the round of sixteen, while a grudge match was set in the last eight. Here’s what happened on day four in Barcelona.

Results

The rain forced the home fans to wait for the match they wanted to see, but when Rafael Nadal took to the court for his all-Spanish affair with Albert Montanes, they were not disappointed. The eight-time Barcelona champion was dominant in his third round match, blowing past his compatriot 6-2, 6-2 in just over an hour.

Rafael Nadal slides into a forehand during his third round win. Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal slides into a forehand during his third round win. Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images

In the quarterfinals, Nadal will have a chance to avenge his third round loss last year at this event when he takes on Fabio Fognini. The Italian was nearly as dominant in his 6-3, 6-2 victory over Viktor Troicki, who only won four points on his second serve in the match. Fognini broke his Serbian opponent three times while saving all four break points he faced in the hour and 22-minute victory.

Kei Nishikori’s quest for a three-peat in the Catalonian capital continued on Thursday, as the two-time defending champion downed 13th seed Jeremy Chardy 6-3 7-5. Both players struggled on break point, with Nishikori failing to save either break point against his serve. However, he converted four of his five chances on the Frenchman’s serve. The first set was defined by good serving by both. Nishikori held the only break point of the set and converted it, which was enough. The men exchanged breaks multiple times in the second set before Nishkori broke Chardy at 5-5 and held to reach the quarterfinals. The Japanese will next take on Alexandr Dolgopolov, who ended the run of Russian teenager Karen Khachanov in straight sets.

Kei Nishikori serves to Jeremy Chardy on Thursday. Photo: Davis Ramos/Getty Images
Kei Nishikori serves to Jeremy Chardy on Thursday. Photo: Davis Ramos/Getty Images

The big upset of the day came at the expense of a local favourite, as seventh seed Feliciano Lopez was sent packing by Philipp Kohlschreiber. The Spaniard won the opening set in a tiebreak, but could not get much going on the German’s serve for the remainder of the match. In the quarterfinals, Kohlschreiber will take on Andrey Kuznetsov, who beat Czech veteran Radek Stepanek in straight sets. The Russian managed to save all five break points he faced in the hour and 15-minute victory.

There was another surprise on Thursday, as young gun Alexander Zverev had his run cut short by Tunisian veteran Malik Jaziri. The 32-year-old piled pressure on the German’s serve, forcing the young gun to face 12 break points, ten of which he saved. Zverev managed to hang with Jaziri in the first set, but the Tunisian took the set in a tiebreak. He then dominated his serve in the second, not allowing the German a single break point and grabbing the one break he needed to advance to the quarterfinals.

In the quarters, he will take on Benoit Paire, who advanced with surprising ease against Pablo Cuevas, needing under an hour to beat the clay court specialist 6-2, 6-4. The Frenchman was dominant on serve, winning 84% of his first serve points and limited Cuevas to one break point in the match.

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