Rafael Nadal kept youngster Jiri Vesely winless against Top 10 foes, taking down the 22-year-old 6-4, 7-6(2) in a sloppy display Thursday in the Hamburg.
“I think I played a good match,” said Nadal who was broken twice. “Something that I am proud of today, very happy with, [is] my attitude and [I’m] very happy with the way that I played. I just need a little bit more consistency.”
Nadal served for the match in the second but double faulted twice.
The win sets up Nadal to play clay specialist Pablo Cuevas on Friday in the quarterfinals.
“He’s one of the best players of the world, especially on clay,” said Nadal who won Hamburg the last time played in 2008. “It’s a big match and I know I have to play well if I want to be in that semi-finals. I’m going to fight for it.”
The Uruguayan Cuevas advanced with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Jerzy Janowicz. Cuevas lost to Nadal in Rio in February in match that ended at 3:18am. He’s also just 1-5 lifetime against Top 10 players.
In the other quarters, Lucas Pouille battles Benoit Paire in a match-up of two shotmakers. Paire has won his last seven matches. Fabio Fognini will look improve his record to 6-0 against Brit Aljaze Bedene and in an all-Italian affair, Andreas Seppi meets Simone Bolelli with the winner to potentially face Nadal on Saturday.
In Atlanta, American ace John Isner upped his Atlanta win streak to nine after turning away Radek Stepanek 7-6, 7-6. The match featured four breaks of serve, two apiece.
“I played a pretty nervous match to be honest,” said Isner who cracked 33 aces. “My first match here I’ve had close matches every year, and tonight was no different. I’ve generally played better as the tournament goes on and I hope that’s the case tomorrow.”
The two-time defending Atlanta champion will face Ricardas Berankis in the quarterfinals. Also, 2014 runner-up Dudi Sela meets Denis Kudla, Marcos Baghdatis faces Vasek Pospisil and Go Soeda gets Gilles Muller.
In Gstaad, the top 8 seeds all made the quarters with No. 1 David Goffin and No. 2 Feliciano Lopez leading the way on the Swiss clay. It’s the first time since Montreal in 2009 that all 8 seeds made the quarters.
FRIDAY HAMBURG SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 11:30 am
[Q] L. Pouille (FRA) vs B. Paire (FRA)
Not Before 1:30 pm
 F. Fognini (ITA) vs A. Bedene (GBR)
 [WC] R. Nadal (ESP) vs  P. Cuevas (URU)
Not Before 4:45 pm
 A. Seppi (ITA) vs S. Bolelli (ITA)
FRIDAY GSTAAD SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 10:30 am
 S. Giraldo (COL) vs  F. Lopez (ESP)
 P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs  D. Thiem (AUT)
Not Before 3:00 pm
 P. Andujar (ESP) vs  T. Bellucci (BRA)
Not Before 5:00 pm
 D. Goffin (BEL) vs  J. Sousa (POR)
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