BARCELONA.- Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal is to continue his title defense at the 2019 Barcelona Open after he advanced to the quarterfinals, getting past his countryman David Ferrer in straight sets.
Nadal needed around two hours to claim a 6-3, 6-3 win over Ferrer in their 32nd career match, which Nadal leads 26 to 6.
Ferrer fought hard from the start and was close to breaking Nadal’s service for the first game but the latter saved two break points to stay on his serve.
The world number two managed to break Ferrer’s service for the sixth game and maintained his advantage to eventually clinch the first set.
In the second set, Nadal broke his opponent’s service for the first game, but Ferrer broke back in the fourth to get the contest back on a level playing ground at 2-2. But then Nadal came alive.
He managed to break Ferrer’s service again in the next game and did the same one more time in the ninth to seal his 6-3 win.
Nadal is set to continue his bid for a record-extending 12th title at Barcelona when he clashes against the winner of the match pitting Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Meanwhile, Ferrer bid farewell to his last participation in the Barcelona Open after he lost with dignity yet again to his rival, to whom Ferrer lost four finals in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012.
The 37-year-old recently announced that the 2019 Madrid Open, which is scheduled for May 3-14, will be his last tournament as a professional tennis player.
Elsewhere in Barcelona Open action, Chile’s Nicolas Jarry managed to continue his adventure in the tournament with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) comeback against the 13th-seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria on Thursday.
Although he lost his service for the first game in the first set, the ATP ranked number 43 Dimitrov eventually claimed an easy 6-2 win within 27 minutes, breaking Jarry’s service three times.
The Chilean showed his courage and drive in the second set, breaking the Bulgarian’s first service as well, to finally draw level with a 6-4 win, after 40 minutes of play.
Both players stayed on serve in the third set, forcing a tiebreaker that Jarry dominated, clinching the win after he capitalized on the first match point.
Despite being defeated in his qualification match against Spaniard Marcel Granollers on Sunday, Jarry, the world number 81, was the lucky loser of the tourney being brought back to competition as the alternate player of South Korean Hyeon Chung who withdrew before the main draw due to a back injury.
Jarry’s ride through the tourney has seen him knock out world number three Alexander Zverev of Germany in the previous round.
Up next in the quarterfinals, the 23-year-old Chilean is set to play Russia’s Daniil Medvedev who defeated Mackenzie Mcdonald of the United States earlier in the day. EFE