• Madrid Open

Nadal sets up Berdych quarter-final

ESPN staff
May 8, 2014
Rafael Nadal's win was the 685th of his career © Getty Images

Rafael Nadal overcame a second-set fightback to beat Jarkko Nieminento 6-1 6-4 and reach the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open.

The defending champion let slip a 3-1 lead in the second and saved a break point in the ninth game before going on to break again and complete the 80-minute victory - his eighth straight over the Finn.

Nadal eyes all-time top 10

  • Rafael Nadal's victory was the 685th of his career as he closes in on Boris Becker in 10th position on the list of Open era winners.
  • 1. Jimmy Connors - 1,253 wins

    2. Ivan Lendl - 1,071

    3. Roger Federer - 951

    4. Guillermo Vilas - 929

    5. John McEnroe - 875

    6. Andre Agassi - 870

    7. Stefan Edberg - 801

    8. Ilie Nastase - 779

    9. Pete Sampras - 762

    10. Boris Becker - 713

Nadal is now 28 victories behind 10th-placed Boris Becker in the Open era winners' list.

The world No.1 will face sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who came from a set down to beat Grigor Dimitrov 3-6 6-3 6-2 in a little shy of two hours.

The Czech, a runner-up to Roger Federer two years ago, withstood 12 aces to break Dimitrov three times, recording his first win in three meetings over the Bulgarian.

"Grigor started really well," he said. "He was serving exceptionally well, playing aggressively and I couldn't find a way to get into his service games.

"But, finally, I took my first break point in the second set and from that point things changed quite dramatically. I was happy with the way I handled the match and how I played."

Berdych is currently on the wrong end of a 17-3 head-to-head record against Nadal and has not beaten the Spaniard since the 2006 quarter-finals in this event - when it was played on hard court.

"I will need to run a lot," Berdych added. "He's playing really well and is just showing how great he is on clay."

Kei Nishikori needed over two hours and two tie-breaks to see off eighth seed Milos Raonic 7-6(5) 7-6(5). Tenth seed Nishikori will next play Feliciano Lopez after the Spaniard was given a third round walk through; Dominic Thiem retired before a ball was hit.

Elsewhere, Ernests Gulbis beat Marin Cilic 6-3 6-4 to reach the last eight after just under 90 minutes on court.

Click here for a full round-up of the women's third round

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