World number five Rafael Nadal booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open with a 6-3, 6-4 win over big-serving South African Kevin Anderson.
Rafa, who has won the tournament nine times, sealed victory over the world number 66 in one hour and 32 minutes. He converted a break point in each set to secure his 50th victory in Barcelona.
After the match, Rafa said:
They weren’t the best conditions for me. I much prefer it when the ball is doing more. It wasn’t easy. He’s a really tall player who hits the ball well in comfortable positions. I tried to make him take the ball on the move in order to make him less comfy. (via Reuters)
Our champ will face South Korean qualifier Hyeon Chung in the last eight on Friday.
I am thinking who wouldn’t be disappointed in having missed an opportunity to play against, and learn from Rafa, the best of the best.
As it stands now, I am certain many players are cringing at the thought of having to play Rafa in the early rounds of a tournament. Only the brave, and those willing to learn would embrace such a challenging tennis pro such as Rafa. Yes, he inspires and he also instills fear in his opponents; what a conundrum.
I do not think Chung will be an easy opponent but I feel confident Rafa will prevail .
Although Moya is not in Barcelona I think his influence has already shown itself in Rafa’s approach to his games. He is hitting with confidence and going for his shots with more aggression.
Certainly Uncle Toni and Riog are there and I don’t underestimate their input but a new pair of eyes and a new perspective from Moya has been a bonus to Rafa.
I still wish Rafa would withdraw from Madrid but his sense of obligation to the tournament organisers and the Spanish people is too great, I fear. Only injury, I feel, can stop his momentum at this stage and Madrid was where he first felt the wrist problem last year.
Neither the altitude nor the court suit him there.
Oh, Rafa, why do you have to be so noble? Moya, can you please make him see reason?
I, too, feel that Rafa will stop 20-year old Chung from going any further. I just hope he is competitive so spectators won’t be disappointed.
I was concerned that he beat Sascha so handily, and since he is an unknown quantity [to me] I looked up his stats. Sascha is the highest ranked player he has overcome. All the others are ranked from 31 to 100+. Yes, rankings can be deceiving but I feel these can be counted on. [See TennisLive.com]
Wow, Rafa is striking the ball really well at the moment. I am so scared that a injury is going to come out of nowhere ):
If Rafa can maintain the good serving and the great feel for the ball he has at the moment, he will be a threat in Wimbledon and the US Open as well.
Keep it up! VAMOS!
Rafa is talking like the player of old; figuring out his opponent’s weaknesses and capitalizing on them. That ability is also a strong element of his game and a reason for Toni and he to rail against the “bam, bam, bam” players.
I hope Sascha does not beat himself up because of his missed opportunity to learn from one of the greatest tennis champions of all time, Rafa.
Wow: Zverev and Goffin both out! Good new for Rafa, except I doubt Chung or Khack would force Rafa to raise his game the way the latter two would.
I wonder if AZ and DF are now burned out from their impressive spring season? Did not see either match. I think KK has the potential to be extremely good.
That’s the difference between the very good and the inestimably great players–the greats do it tournament after tournament.
I saw part of the KK v Goffin match. I thought David looked tired, but Karen played really well. He trains in Barcelona so is very familiar with clay. He is definitely a player to watch but may need more time.
Goodness – David goffin is out.
Sasha Zverev is out and goffin is a break down in final set but may yet come through. Murray just beat lopez. The plot thickens. Cross fingers that rafa has a smooth ride from now.
Good job today. Happy for you <3
Just seen that Sasha Zverev lost to Chung, his fellow next gen player 6-1 6-4 (oops!!!). Perhaps Zverev shouldn’t have been so vocal about accepting a wild card just to face off with Rafa! Although I admire his grit and determination, he definitely got ahead of himself! He must be fuming right now. The margin of the defeat shows that he has a lot to learn on clay before he has any chance against the Rafa, the master!
I agree Az showed hubris in his remarks about playing Rafa again.
I like him, but I could see that in his character before as well. Ultimately it may work for him, but now, he’s eating humble pie.
I wondered how good his clay game really is, and saw he had a pretty good record last year on clay, given that he was 18.
Rafa, it looks as if A. Zverev isn’t going to get to challenge you. Instead, you will play H. Chung from S. Korea, another young next-gen surprise to me. What do you have in store for H. Chung? Show him the ways of a champion and how to play on clay.
Alexander Zverev will be very disappointed as he was desperate to have a re match against Rafa on a clay court and he was hoping it would be this week . Unfortunately he has just been Knocked out by Chung 6-1, 6-4 . Chung is now Rafas’s next opponent , I hope it won’t be a case of better the devil you know , but with Rafas’s current form , I’m going to say watch out Andy ,Rafa is coming after your spot , and fast.
Nicely done Rafa. Another win to tick off!!
CONGRATZ on another winning clay-court match, Rafa. 👏👏👏👏👏
THE BEST IS YET TO COME!
No wavering Rafa, be as confident as you should be for you next Dixième right here at Barcelona.
Replying here to your comment to me below re Rafa’s injury last year:
Yes, it was the cumulative effect on his wrist. The withdrawl at FO was devastating–I remember seeing another match interrupted for a Rafa presser and thought “OH NO!!!!!”
I can only hope he has changed his technique to lessen the toll on the wrist. But playing less will help too. But this is the clay season and need to make hay while the sun is out, so …
Rafa has been very lucky.
As you know, the left-wrist injury he sustained was due to the repetitive nature of playing tennis, the shock that parts of the body must absorb from hitting a ball at high speed.
I am not knowledgeable enough about technique to opine, but yes, playing less would certainly help.
Juan Martin DelPotro explained that mini-tears in the tendon sheath area are very difficult to detect. I feel that was the reason for Rafa having been given medical clearance to play Rome last year.
Thank goodness he is taking better care of himself, for him, for his fans, and for tennis.
Rafa looking really really good. The conditions today were not his favourite, and yet he hit the ball so well, with such depth and control. Very impressed.
Kevin is not yet back to his best and clay is not his surface, so not a huge test, but still I saw a great level from from Rafa you don’t always see against midlling opponents.
It gets way harder from her on in, theoretically: Zverev, Goffin and Murray. That is all so juicy and interesting.
Will Zverev prove he can play better on clay than last time?
Can Goffin find that incredible level again? If so, biggest threat by far.
What will Murray look like? So far this season: weak.
That’s presuming they all get through. Thiem could upset Murray, and Khankanov–Goffin. I see he is already up a break. KK is a real up and comer, probably a future top ten if not 5.
I think Rafa will win here. I start wonder if playing Madrd and Rome is too much–because it’s really all about RG–but Rafa knows how to make that call.
The clay game is looking superb. I want to see it against the best now.
that is my concern also. Nadal played good today and im starting to see more depth in his shots and someone who is playing with confidence by going for his shots. However last year he got that wrist injury in madrid and decided to play with it in rome although his doctors advised him not to do it he did not listen and had to withdraw from third round french open and the rest of the season speaks for itself. That is why i think he should skip madrid then play rome and roland garros.
I hope he listens very well to his body and to moya and the doctors and skips madrid. I always found that tournament the most difficult for rafa because of the high altitude that doesnt suit his game very much
next he will probably play zverev. I expect zverev will play better then in mc so rafa needs to be very agressive and focus
In his presser announcing his retirement from the FO, Rafa said he first “…felt something while in Madrid. That was Saturday. Sunday I went to Barcelona to see if I could play in Rome. I had an MRI and an [can’t understand the word]. I was told ‘nothing bad.'”
“I then went to Rome and played with anti-inflammatories.
“I then went to Mallorca, and then Roland Garros. At Roland Garros it was worse. If I play it will be [broken].”
I think Rafa probably feels obligated to play Madrid, as it is the only ATP master event in Spain.
Yes, except Zverev was upset so it’s Chung. Good news for Rafa, Goffin fone too, so now it will be easier.
Madrid would be the one to skip for sure. Plays more like a HC.
Well, Zverev didn’t make it. 🙂
As you know now, Zverev lost to Chung. Certainly a surprise. Rafa has had two easy matches, but his confidence is so high right from the start. I agree that he has been serving well and hitting it long. I sure hope that he has another 10th here.
they are no easy matches nadal should not underestimate his opponents
Yeaah! 👏🏻 Congratz Champ. – Keep it going 🤗😘 Good luck at the quaterfinal 🍀🍀❤️❤️
VAMOOS RAFA!! 🎾💪🏼😃
Felicidades, Rafa!!!! Sigue así, tu puedes !!!!! Carmen Miolán