It was another tough first set, but Rafael Nadal rolled into the Rio quarterfinals with a 7-5, 6-3 win over countryman Pablo Carreno Busta Thursday. Nadal, who is a perfect 16-0 lifetime in Brazil, now faces Pablo Cuevas in a first-time meeting on Friday.
“If my rival is Nadal, it is going to be the first time I face him,” said Cuevas who just won the Sao Paulo event on Sunday. “I am in a good moment. I will try to enjoy the match and continue to play the same as I been doing and I wish I can continue with the streak.”
David Ferrer is also in qaurterfinal action against Juan Monaco.
Indoors in Marseille, defending champion Ernests Gulbis tumbled out to Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-3 in his opening match. The Latvian who reached the French Open semifinals has now lost his last six matches, all four this year. And since his memorable run at Roland Garros, Gulbis has won just nine matches overall.
Speaking of memories, Simone Bolelli had one of his best career wins today. After losing 35 straight to Top 10 players, the Italian finally got a win beating Milos Raonic Thursday in Marseille 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3).
“There were many close games, but I couldn’t make the most of my chances,” said Raonic. “I served better as the match went on, but he made it through when it mattered the most.”
With an 0-22 record, American Ryan Harrison now has the most active losses to Top 10 players without a win.
Stan Wawrinka, Gilles Simon and Dominic Thiem were also victors.
In the Delray Beach, the quarterfinals features Young-Dolgoplov, Tomic-Nishioka, Lu-Mannarino and Johnson-Karlovic. Tournament favorites John Isner and Sam Querrey both lost earlier in the week.
“Today was very cold so it was tough for both of us,” said Tomic who beat Viktor Troicki in three. “It was good tennis; we both served pretty good. I was happy to win because it’s a tough match playing Viktor.”
On the women’s tour in Dubai, the Friday semifinals will see Caroline Wozniacki take on Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova against Garbine Muguruza.
Halep avenged a Australian Open loss to Ekaterina Makarova beating the Russian 7-5 in the third. Wozniacki, meanwhile, stormed past Flavia Pennetta 7-5, 6-0, winning the last nine games. Wozniacki and Halep have split two previous meetings.
“Simona is obviously a good player,” Wozniacki said. “She takes the ball early, she likes to play with angles – it’s going to be a little bit similar to today. But I haven’t played her for a long time, so I don’t remember exactly how she plays. I’ve seen her on TV obviously. I’ll need to ask my dad for a few tips.”
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