Former Champions Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori Continue On Barcelona Collision Course
by Staff | April 22nd, 2016, 6:40 pm
  • 53 Comments

Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal and 2-time defending Barcelona winner Kei Nishikori continued on their collision course to a Sunday showdown today in quarterfinal play.

Nadal resumed his recent resurgent beating the tricky Italian Fabio Fognini 6-2, 7-6(1). It was the Spaniard’s eighth straight match win.

“It was a match on a really high level. Great win against one of the best players on clay in straight sets. I can’t complain,” said Nadal.

“I’m trying to play better every day. I do not compare myself to anyone and do not think about past achievements or victories. What matters is today and that is what I am focusing on.”

Fognini, who beat the King of Clay in Barcelona a year ago, led 5-3 in the second but couldn’t put Nadal away.

“This year things are a little different, I am accepting every situation and I don’t have the feeling of being constantly nervous,” Nadal said of overcoming the second set deficit.

Next for Nadal is a Saturday semifinal date with German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Kei Nishikori ran his Barcelona win streak to 13 after dispatching Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 6-0 in his quarterfinal match. Nishikori now faces Frenchman Benoit Paire who came from a set down to beat Malek Jaziri. Paire stunned Nishikori at the US Open last year.

“I lost against Paire twice last year and he is also a great player and I am sure it is going to be tough,” said Nishikori. “I think I am a little bit better than last year and it is going to be a different game on clay.”

In Bucharest, semifinal Saturday features Federico Delbonis against Lucas Pouille and Fernando Verdasco versus Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

SATURDAY BARCELONA SCHEDULE
PISTA CENTRAL start 1:30 pm
[6] [WC] B. Paire (FRA) vs [2] K. Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 4:00 pm
[1] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [10] P. Kohlschreiber (GER)
[WC] P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP) vs F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

PISTA 1 start 3:00 pm
T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs [2] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)


You Might Like:
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Rafael Nadal Faces Fabio Fognini Friday In Barcelona; Kei Nishikori Win Streak At 12
Rafael Nadal Opens Bid For A Ninth Barcelona Title Wednesday
Kei Nishikori: “I Have A Lot Of Confidence On Clay Right Now”
How Nice, Rafael Nadal Gets A Rose After Practice [Video]

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53 Comments for Former Champions Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori Continue On Barcelona Collision Course

nits Says:

Please suggest me any live streaming site for nadal match


nits Says:

thanks


Margot Says:

I’d like to congratulate all Kei’s fans, including myself, for having the exemplary good sense to support such a talented, delightful player.


Giles Says:

^^^^ A bit OTT! Lol


elina Says:

Congrats to you Margot and same to kei and all of his other fans. Commies to those that don’t like to congratulate others.

Also congrats to myself of course.


J-Kath Says:

I’m at the ready to congratulate tomorrow’s winner…all I need is the name….


elina Says:

JK congrats on your readiness!


J-Kath Says:

Elina

I’m down to two names now…so I’m even more ready. But it doesn’t diminish my appreciation of your most generous support – indeed I am completely over-whelmed.


Okiegal Says:

I am sending congrats to 6 loyal Rafa fans…..Green Lady, Giles, me, myself and I….on Rafa’s 10th Barcelona finals…..HEY YOU 2, OUR GUY LOOKIN’ MO BETTA AND MO BETTA EACH MATCH……..

VAMOS!!!!

PS congrats to all other Rafa fans in fandomland….He is the boss of clay…..

I love that Mr. Sebastian Nadal has quit dying his hair…..it is now Bjorn Borg like….second best dirter of all time!!


jalep Says:

I’m congratulating myself and Margot on the excellence of Kei Nishikori’s fine tennis mind and making another Barcelona final. Just wish my arms were longer for patting myself on the back.


elina Says:

Congrats to jalep for having the conviction to congratulate yourself!

Congrats to JK for appreciation of others here!

And congrats to okie for having a fav with so many titles. As a Gael fan, I’m jealous!!!


Okiegal Says:

elina….You have always had nice things to say about Rafa, I actually thought you were a fan. I like Gael too, very talented, great personality, but needs to work on his fitness……and thanks!

Congrats to Kei and all of his fans. Will he have a 3peat?? I hope we see a great final tomorrow! Win or lose……I am just happy to see Rafa playing deep into the last 2 tournaments. 🆗 🐂


MMT Says:

Okiegal: I play with a guy (20 years my senior, I might add) who’s got a marvelous head of white hair. I’ve always felt there’s something very dignified about a man (or woman, for that matter) who ages gracefully.

As for the match ups, I think this is a tall task for Kohlschreiber given the way Nadal’s playing these day. His depth of shot is much better than it’s been for a while, and his movement is allowing him to keep his percentage of forehands very high – according to Rafa, his magic number if 65%.

Kohlschreiber is an outstanding player in general, and very effective on clay, due in no small part to his mobility and his generous use of spin on both strokes. To beat Rafa he will have to find a way to either force him further behind the baseline (not likely), make effective use of the drop shot (very difficult, but doable), and find angles on the serve to be able to hit behind Rafa as he scampers behind the baseline.

As for Nishikori and Paire, I think the result is on Paire’s racquet, which is always a bad bet for him. I haven’t had a chance to review his matches with Nishikori in the past, but I know that improvisation is a double edged sword for him. He frequently eschews the percentage play for the unexpected, and if he can avoid errors it’s very effective. However, eliciting errors is a strength of Nishikori, because of his movement and excellent transition. The other thing is if Paire goes for big serves, it may work to his detriment because after Djokovic, Nishikori is the best returner in the game, and can force a very low first serve percentage, which would mean the end of Paire.

My guess is Nadal in 3, but Nishikori in straight sets or if there is a 3rd set, it’s a breadstick or better for the Ozeki from the land of the rising sun.


elina Says:

Okie I am a fan of tennis first and all exciting players including Nadal, but like Sean, Gael is my fav. He’s just so ripped.


django Says:

Elina
Since you are a tennis fan first can I ask your opinion?
Do you feel that Nole gets unfair treatment from press like the current controversies regarding match fixing,women’s pay, laureus doping comments, etc.
Or past ones like abusing ball girls or finding things like nubs on shoes. Do they zero in on him?
I am a Nole fan and want to know if he gets ‘picked on’ from an unbiased fan.


jalep Says:

MMT,
Appreciate and agree with your descriptions and assessments of everything: Rafa, Kei, Benoit, and Kohls.

Maybe I’m reading your verb tenses wrong? Or I’m confused. Anyway… you definitely got it right — the way things played out in the semi’s.

What about the final, Rafa v Kei? Does Kei have a chance – is there anything he can do? I was disappointed with what little I watched of


J-Kath Says:

Elina

Don’t know where you live…but if it is UK (or close)you may have heard about the one day Exhibition with Gael Monfils, Andy + Jamie and Tim Henman …a low cost ticket event in Glasgow for charity…think it is 21 Sept.: Gael v Andy followed by doubles Murrays v Gael and Tim.
???


jalep Says:

To finish my sentence @ 1:26…
… I was disappointed with what little I watched of Kohlschreiber’s side of the match vs Rafa in the semi. He was too timid and gave up on court positioning. I guess that’s to be expected vs Rafa.


elina Says:

Django I don’t consider myself to be an unbiased fan which to me is an oxymoron. However I do think Novak and Rafa are both singled out very unfairly at times. The media is no different in that regard despite the fact that professionalism would indicate some level of objectivity which is too often sorely lacking. I feel as if I’m reading or listening to fellow fans and not journalists.


elina Says:

JK yes I know about the exho thanks but sadly no I’m not in the UK.


elina Says:

Django I don’t consider myself to be an unbiased fan which to me is an oxymor@n. However I do think Novak and Rafa are both singled out very unfairly at times. The media is no different in that regard despite the fact that professionalism would indicate some level of objectivity which is too often sorely lacking. I feel as if I’m reading or listening to fellow fans and not journalists and commentators. They cannot hide their bias.


MMT Says:

jalep: This may seem like a likely explanation, but I haven’t seen the matches or the results – I wrote that thinking the matches were coming up.

I enjoy the games of all of these players, but I learn the most from Nishikori as far as racquet head acceleration is concerned. It’s hard to remember to forced your racquet head through the point of contact, but he does that as well as anyone in tennis. It’s the only explanation for how a guys so little can still consistently take his opponent’s time away..


jalep Says:

MMT – he does strike the ball and accelerate as you say.
Continually mystified and amazed by how Kei remains top ten considering his size – he and David Ferrer. Davydenko was another one I’ll never forget. Goffin is starting to go there.

Though I’m curious to watch, I’m also dreading the Barcelona final because Rafa is near to his best and I hate seeing Kei get pummeled by anybody!


Okiegal Says:

@MMT….My late husband’s hair was white also. I loved it. He started graying in his 20′s……his new wife caused the problem…lol I agree to that white hair is dignified looking. I thought Sebastian was more handsome with no dye….jmo…

Yes, elina Gael is ripped! I wish he would work harder….he is so talented.

Your answer to Django was spot on…I was going to weigh in on his question to you…..I would have said the same thing. I think they both get unfair treatment. Novak is being targeted unfairly as of late. Guess it is kosher to pick on the #1 in the world………


elina Says:

Yes, as long as it’s not Roger. Have never seen media single him out for anything (except for when he would retire when he was struggling with his back).

They usually just fawn over him nauseatingly.


Daniel Says:

Getting ball in the raise is dificult, tgis guys makes it sound easier: Nalbandian, Davydenjo, Kei, Agassi and Fognini as well. But hit that way again and again is insane.

I have 2 Hand BH as well and I learn the most woth this guys plus Novak and Murray. Nalbandain had a left arm adjustment to creat the angles ge wanted but Kei does seems the more natural for head accelaration.

Djoko and Murray thyr hit the BH DTL differently, Djoko can have nore spin on it wgile Andy kinds of bend his racqurt a bit, almost hitting inside out, that’s way I think he missed out side court and net more than Djoko.


Okiegal Says:

@elina…..yes they do……(your last paragraph)….they truly believe he is the undisputed 🐐!!! When in reality, 100 yrs down the road, we don’t who might emerge and break records….it is possible. And besides all that, it diminishes the achievements of players of yesteryear…….imo……


MMT Says:

jalep: Your inclusion of Davydenko in this group of fast hands is spot on – if you want to see fast play with two players taking time away from each other (and some amazing rallies) search Federer v Davydenko Rotterdam 2012, or Federer vs Davydenko Australian Open 2013. They were playing like a ping-pong match on a tennis court and it was fascinating.

Davydenko’s biggest problem was his serve – he earned no free points from it, and had to earn every single one. Against the top players, that’s a tall order. He also didn’t have much of a net game to speak of. Both things the Nishikori does better than him, and I think Nishikori is a better player, even though he’s not been ranked as high as Davydenko (I don’t think).


skeezer Says:

Liking a tennis player cause he is ripped? Why not just get a Firemens calendar?
Tennis fans usually like a player because of his/her playing attributes, not their bod. Oh that’s right it’s not about tennis anymore…


Green Lady Says:

Skeezer what about the men, who say how hot Sharapova, Ivanovic, Pironkova (Colin), Kirilenko are ? ….


elina Says:

Just a hunch that the rogerator is no Gael if you catch my meaning you guys.


skeezer Says:

Hawkeyes,
Just a better hunch your no Kournikova.


Okiegal Says:

I know one thing for sure …Roger ain’t ripped! That’s why I don’t like him……..lol


Okiegal Says:

Skeezer, I’m online looking for a fireman’s calendar, great idea!!


J-Kath Says:

Okie

I always enjoy your humour…but this time you’ve lost me.


J-Kath Says:

Elina
I thought seriously about going but I’ve got a couple who were uni. friends of my husband coming around that date – so it gets complicated….


elina Says:

Lol okie I’m with you there.

JK too bad I think it would be a fun show!


J-Kath Says:

Okie
I’ve scrolled back up (which I didn’t do before) and my little midnight brain tells me the subject is the body beautiful as defined by the men….if I’m right, you are all naughty,lascivious, and a whole of other delicious (oops) thoughts….


Okiegal Says:

J-Kath…..We were being chastised for liking a player because he was ripped and it was pointed out that men commented about the women players too! As for naughty delicious thoughts……bring the gavel down…… guilty as charged!! Now I have to find an emoji to bring my point home….here ya go JK…😈😈😈😈


Okiegal Says:

@elina 6:41…..We can agree to agree!! Lol


django Says:

I agree elina and okie, very unfairly.


Green Lady Says:

Whats most important is whats on the inside ? ….


Margot Says:

@OKgiel
Men on here frequently comment about women’s looks.
What’s sauce for the goose etc.
Lol elina, re Monfils, take it you’re not a “leg woman” then….. because….;)
Talking of eye candy…. Chardy has bulked up, he used to have really skinny legs.


Green Lady Says:

Margot exactly ….


skeezer Says:

margot,
I do not find women in tennis a reason to gawk.
Some here are trying to do the kettle black thing when overall the tennis fan population watches tennis for the athleticism, competition, and skills they provide that most don’t have. BTW how do you know all those “male” named posters are male? I have my very strong doubts…..
If women, or men, are looking for hot bodies, surely there are a volume of media on the internet to go scour.


jalep Says:

For me, it’s Gilles Simon. Skinny legs, yes but those legs are fast and his endurance + weight to power ratio sizzles. His mental strength and level of self confidence without being in love with himself = makes me smile.

But I’ve never been a fan of bulky body builder physiques and big muscles.

skeezer – how do you know the female poster’s are female 😄 ???


Margot Says:

@Skeeze
eg matt4 “admires” Scharapova…..;) and has said so many times….not the only one of course. I don’t find Andy in the least attractive but I find his tennis sublime, the complete opposite with Chardy.
And who knows, whose who?
And does it matter much?


skeezer Says:

Jalep,
U know I know what sex u are ;).
That aside, you’re right, I don’t, and thats my point 👍🎾


skeezer Says:

margot,
After some thought, yeah in the end it doesn’t matter, as long as it brings a fan to watch tennis. Just my imo..;)


jalep Says:

Are you saying my sex change was a success, skeezer? 😘 just Kidding… of course.

I’m happy I got to meet you in real life. Will never forget it!


ulysses02 Says:

On April 20th, 2016 at 2:17 pm, MMT said:
“I think Monfils is an exceptional athlete masquerading as a tennis player. I don’t think he has a snowball’s chance of winning RG or any major this or any year, and not because it’s too late, but because he doesn’t have the skills.”

You may visit this page to view my response to that, but you owe this blog an explanation of those comments. Either that or you absolve yourself of them.

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2016-04-18/22590.php#comment-679945


Giles Says:

With this win Nadal ties Vilas’ record of 49 titles on clay.

Top story: Halep, Wozniacki Lead Loaded Wuhan Field; Kerber v Keys, Svitolina v Sabalenka Tues.