World No. 1 Rafael Nadal crushed Christophe Rochus of Belgium 6-2, 6-0 to move into the quarterfinals and an anticipated meeting with David Nalbandian on Thursday at the Barcelona Open.
Unfortunately the meeting is not to be, as after Nalbandian won his match on Thursday, he withdrew from the event citing an injured hip.
It was the 22nd consecutive win for the 22-year-old who improved to 31-3 this year (9-0 on clay), and is looking to add to his Australian Open, Masters Indian Wells and Masters Monte Carlo titles.
Nadal is 140-4 on claycourts since 2005 and is 23-1 lifetime in claycourt finals.
Nalbandian beat Nicolas Almagro, the No. 10 seed, 6-3, 6-4, but has been bothered by inflammation of the right hip and aggravated the injury during the win.
Nadal now gets a pass into the semifinals, where he will face with Nikolay Davydenko or Radek Stepanek.
David Ferrer earned a spot in the quarters with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Potito Starace. He will next meet fellow Spaniard and No. 6 seed Tommy Robredo who defeated No. 12 seed Igor Andreev 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
No. 19-ranked Radek “The Worm” Stepanek of the Czech Republic knocked out No. 12-ranked Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 1-6, 7-5, and will next meet No. 3-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko, who outlasted No. 16 seed Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez of Spain 7-6(8), 3-6, 6-4.
Other winners Thursday were No. 2 seed Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco outlasting No. 15 Tomas Berdych in three sets, and No. 5 Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez beating unseeded Argentine Juan Monaco in straight sets.
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