- Barcelona Open
Nadal continues bid for Barcelona domination
Rafael Nadal kept up his bid for a ninth Barcelona Open title in ten years by making light work of Ivan Dodig to move into the quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-3 victory.
Nadal looked more like his confident self on the clay in passing Croatian Dodig, despite struggling with his game coming into the event and an unconvincing opening victory on Wednesday did little to calm the nerves.
But the world No.1 looked more assured as he ousted the 37th-ranked Dodig in 83 minutes - his 41st successive victory in the tournament dating back to 2003. Nadal last lost a game in this event in 2003 when he was beaten in the second round by Alex Carretja. He missed the 2004 and 2010 editions.
Nadal will face compatriot Nicolas Almagro in the last eight. The sixth seed saw off another Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco, by the same score.
Marin Cilic outlasted fifth seed Tommy Robredo in a three-setter that lasted almost three hours. Cilic, the 12th seed, needed two tie-breaks to scrape through 7-5 6-7(3) 7-6(5).
Cilic will next take on fourth seed Kei Nishikori, who recovered from 4-1 down in the second set to beat Andrey Golubev 6-0 6-4.
Nishikori, who last time out beat David Ferrer and Roger Federer at the Miami Masters before being forced to pull out of the semi-finals with injury, said: "After the injury I had a good two weeks training.
"Today was a difficult match for me. I was winning, playing perfectly in the first set and he was playing much better in the second. At 4-1 down, I had to keep concentrating."
Spanish wildcard Inigo Cervantes put up a good fight but was edged 6-4 6-2 by Teymuraz Gabashvili. The Russian world No.55 set up a quarter-final showdown with ninth seed Ernests Gulbis, who also saw off a Spaniard, Albert Montanes, in a 7-5 6-1 victory.
Tenth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Jurgen Melzer 7-5 6-3 and now takes on Santiago Giraldo, who needed three sets to get past qualifier Dominic Thiem 4-6 6-4 7-5.