Rafael Nadal twice squandered break leads in Rio on Thursday but the former No. 1 finally advanced over Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 7-5.
“Winning is the important thing, which gives you confidence and lets you relax,” Nadal said.
“I’m feeling better physically.”
Nadal will now meets Alexandr Dolgopolov. Also on Friday, David Ferrer faces the hot Dominic Thiem.
In Marseille, Tomas Berdych held off fiery Alexander Zverev 7-5 in the third set. Berdych moves on to battle David Goffin. Also today, Nick Kyrgios gets Richard Gasquet and top seed Stan Wawrinka tangles with good friend Benoit Paire.
In Delray Beach, Juan Martin del Potro continues to be the story. Last night, the Argentine dispatched John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinal.
“Physically I felt good,” del Potro said. “But I was playing too many slices. It’s not my game. If I improve my backhand, I will once again be the Tower of Tandil.
“I am so happy to be here, playing in front of my fans. If I can play better, next year I will be back for sure.”
Del Potro now faces veteran Jeremy Chardy.
“I was really happy for him to come back,” said Jeremy Chardy. “For a tennis player, the worst is to be injured. [His comeback] is great for the fans too. We need players like him on the tour.”
Del Potro also was awarded a wildcard into Indian Wells, it was announced by the tournament.
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