Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray appear headed for a big Sunday showdown in Tokyo. But first there’s still a couple more matches for the two Top 5 talents to get through.
Last night, Nadal took out the young Milos Raonic in the second round or their second rounder a year ago. And the result was almost the same with Nadal giving up eight games, this time 6-3, 7-5.
“I think I played well,” said Nadal. “His serve was impressive, especially at the beginning of the match. It was an important victory for me and now I am in the quarter-finals. Physically I feel fine and I have the motivation to keep going and keep practicing hard. I am focused on having a very good tournament. The fans really show their emotions and provide great support. They make me feel fantastic every time I am here.”
Raonic was playing his first tournament since Wimbledon so a loss was expected, but from the scoreline and reports he held up well and that’s encouraging.
Murray had no trouble at all with Alex Bogomolov, crushing the American 6-1, 6-2.
“It was good,” said Murray. “I wanted to get off to a good start, having played a long match against Baghdatis in the first round. It was good to get the first set in 20 minutes. It was a bit tougher in the second. Against Baghdatis I had a lot of long rallies and tough situations I had to get through, so I am pleased with today’s performance. It is nice to come back. The crowds are always good and I have enjoyed the Asian swing so far. My goal is to finish World No. 3 and pick up some titles before the end of the year. Winning in Bangkok was a good start.”
Next for Murray is a date tonight with David Nalbandian in what could be a good match. Or a really bad one depending on which Nalbandian shows up. My guess the latter. Nadal gets Santiago Giraldo.
In the other two quarterfinals it’s a good one between Mardy Fish and Bernard Tomic. Also, Radek Stepanek meets David Ferrer.
In Beijing, JW Tsonga continued his hot play – he’s really been playing some really good tennis since the start of the summer – reaching the quarterfinals where tonight he’ll face former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero.
In the match of the day Tomas Berdych battles Fernando Verdasco. Ljubicic v. Youhzny and Anderson v. Cilic round out the quarterfinals.
World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki is the lone Top 10 player remaining in the $4.5 million dollar women’s quarterfinals after the oft-injured Victoria Azarenka withdrew because of a foot injury. That women’s tournament seems to be snakebit every year.
FRIDAY TOKYO SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
 M Fish (USA) vs B Tomic (AUS)
 R Nadal (ESP) vs S Giraldo (COL)
 R Stepanek (CZE) vs  D Ferrer (ESP)
D Nalbandian (ARG) vs  A Murray (GBR)
FRIDAY BEIJING SCHEDULE
NATIONAL TENNIS STADIUM start 12:30 pm
 T Berdych (CZE) vs F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 3:00 PM
A Ivanovic (SRB) vs  A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
 C Wozniacki (DEN) vs F Pennetta (ITA) – WTA
Not Before 7:30 PM
 J Tsonga (FRA) vs J Ferrero (ESP) – ATP
Also Check Out:
ATP London Race (29 Sept 14): Murray Moves Up, Nishikori Strengthens London Bid
Serena Williams Pulls Out Of Tokyo, Beijing Remains On Her Schedule
Nadal, Murray Collide For Tokyo Title; Berdych Battles Cilic In Beijing
ATP Fall Guide: Where The Big Boyz – Nadal, Djokovic, Federer – Will Be Playing
Djokovic Needs Three In Beijing; Murray Survives 18 Aces From Karlovic In Tokyo