Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal sets up Gaël Monfils clash

World No1 cruises through to quarters as he continues his hunt for his sixth title at the Barcelona Open

rafael nadal
Nadal beat Santiago Giraldo in straight sets on Thursday Photo: via Flickr - Mitch Huang

rafael nadal

Rafael Nadal remained on course for his sixth Barcelona Open title with a brutal 6-3 6-1 victory over Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo.

The world No1 had encountered some resistance early on as his unpredictable opponent made several impressive winners before Nadal squandered an early break to level scores at 3-3.

However, the Spaniard was always too strong for the world No54 and raised his game to win nine of the next 10 games to book his place in the quarter-finals.

Awaiting Nadal is the dangerous Frenchman Gaël Monfils who, in only his second tournament back from a wrist injury, beat compatriot and world No17 Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-6.

Elsewhere, Nicolas Almagro reached a milestone at his home club in Barcelona. The 25-year-old will break into the top 10 for the first time when rankings are renewed on Monday following his 7-6 6-3 victory over Nikolay Davydenko. Next up for the Spaniard is Juan Carlos Ferrero, who struggled past Simone Vagnozzi 7-6 4-6 6-4.

Almagro will be the 17th Spaniard in the Open era to reach the top 10 and will become the third in tennis’s elite, alongside Nadal and Ferrer.

Ferrer himself progressed into the quarter-finals with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 win over Romanian Victor Hanescu.

His victory sets up a repeat of last week’s Monte Carlo Masters semi-final against Jurgen Melzer. The in form Austrian was forced to play his best tennis in a difficult 6-7 6-3 6-2 win over Alberto Montanes.

And Feliciano López was the fourth Spaniard to reach the quarters after he defeated Japan’s Ken Nishikori 6-4 7-6 to set up a clash against surprise winner Ivan Dodig, who outlasted the up-and-coming Milos Raonic 7-6 4-6 6-3.

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