Rafael Nadal fell behind early 4-1 to American Sam Querrey before firing up the jets and rolling to a 6-4, 6-2 victory in the third round at the Madrid Open. Nadal extends his win streak to 12.
“I hadn’t trained during the nighttime, it was a completely different feeling,” Nadal said. “Today it was a little bit slower. At the beginning, when we were warming up, I was feeling a little bit strange, but actually during the week I’ve been training well and playing well.
“After [the slow start] I just had to come back and turn the match around. Luckily once I did that, the match went well. It was on my side most of the time.
“He was going to serve for 5-3 with new balls. You know that you’re at the limit and you can lose the set. Not the match, because you still have another set to go, but it is tough [to be in that position]. In that moment I decided to step back a little bit and change my game. I tried to close the gap so that he couldn’t just go for it. I think it worked out.”
Nadal has The 4-time champion now meets Joao Sousa in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Earlier, defending champion Andy Murray had no trouble with Gilles Simon picking up his 14th win in 16 tried against the Frenchman with a 6-4, 6-2 win.
“It’s obviously very tricky against Simon. He lulls you into a false sense of security in points,” Murray said. “Sometimes the better you hit the ball, the better it comes back. It’s tough to get the balance between being aggressive and being patient.”
Murray now meets 2012 Madrid finalist Tomas Berdych. The big Czech eased past David Ferrer 7-6(8), 7-5.
After losing his last two matches in Madrid, 2011 champion Novak Djokovic has looked in form. Today, the world No. 1 dismantled Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-1 in just 68 minutes.
“[It was a] flawless performance after 2-2 [in the first set],” said Djokovic. “Everything worked very well. I didn’t give him too much time. I think I used the variation of [my] shots, opening up the court – flat, down the lines, slices and, also, different rotations on the serve. [I’m] very, very pleased with the performance.”
Next for Djokovic is a date tomorrow against Milos Raonic who bested Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-4.
In the final quarterfinal, former finalist Kei Nishikori meets the hot Nick Kyrgios. Nishikori collected his first career win over Richard Gasquet while the Australian bad boy knocked out Pablo Cuevas in three sets.
FRIDAY MADRID SCHEDULE
MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
ATP –  T. Berdych (CZE) vs  A. Murray (GBR)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs [Q] L. Chirico (USA)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP –  R. Nadal (ESP) vs J. Sousa (POR)
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA –  S. Halep (ROU) vs S. Stosur (AUS)
Not Before 9:30 pm
ATP –  N. Djokovic (SRB) vs  M. Raonic (CAN)
ARANTXA SANCHEZ start 12:00 noon
ATP –  J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs  A. Peya (AUT) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)
Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs  K. Nishikori (JPN)
ATP –  P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) vs  B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)
ATP – TBA –  V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) vs  I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)
ATP – TBA –  R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS)
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