Barcelona -Rafael Nadal extended his Open Era record to 40 for consecutive sets
won on clay on Thursday when he eased past Spanish compatriot Guillermo
Garcia Lopez 6-1, 6-3 and into the Barcelona quarter-finals.
World No 1e Nadal, chasing an 11th title at the tournament, a week after
claiming the Monte Carlo Masters for an 11th time, will next face
Slovakia's Martin Klizan.
Qualifier Klizan, ranked at 140, knocked
out Novak Djokovic in the second round and reached the last eight on
Thursday with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez.
It was Nadal's 397th match win on clay in a career which includes 76 titles on all surfaces.
set up the foundation for victory by winning nine straight games from
1-1 in the first set to 4-0 in the second set against Garcia-Lopez, the
34-year-old world number 69.
However, Nadal shrugged off his 40-set landmark.
record doesn't matter but if I keep winning sets it will mean that I
keep winning matches. I don't think I can win all the sets from here to
Roland Garros," said 31-year-old Nadal, who will seek to win an 11th
French Open in Paris at the conclusion of the clay-court season in June.
He also warned of the dangers posed by Klizan, a fellow left-hander who defeated him in Beijing in 2014.
has won three matches in the tournament so far, he has the ability to
play at a very high level and can be a dangerous player."
seed Grigor Dimitrov had a far tougher afternoon, needing to save two
match points to beat Tunisia's Malek Jaziri 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (10/8) in a
match which lasted 10 minutes short of three hours.
next play fifth seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, who saved three match
points to defeat French 11th seed Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (8/6)
in two hours and seven minutes.
Carreno Busta wrapped up victory on his fifth match point.
seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria, the runner-up to Nadal in Barcelona
last year, reached the last eight with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over
Slovakian lucky loser Jozef Kovalik.
Thiem will next face Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece who saw off Spanish 10th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 7-5.
fourth seed David Goffin reached the last eight for the first time with
a 2-6, 7-6 (2/7), 6-0 victory over Karen Khachanov, avenging his defeat
at the hands of the Russian at the same stage 12 months ago.
Friday, Goffin will tackle Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Spanish
countryman and recent Marrakech clay-court champion Pablo Andujar 6-4,
Barcelona Open results on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Guillermo García-López (ESP) 6-1, 6-3
Martin Klizan (SVK) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-1, 6-4
David Goffin (BEL x4) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS) 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-0
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x8) bt Pablo Andújar (ESP x9) 6-4, 6-1
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) bt Albert Ramos (ESP x10) 6-4, 7-5
Dominic Thiem (AUT x3) bt Jozef Kovalík (SVK) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Pablo Carreño-Busta (ESP x5) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (8/6)
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x2) bt Malek Jaziri (TUN) 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (10/8)