Rafael Nadal advanced to the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open on Thursday after edging compatriot Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-2.
After an early exchange of breaks in the first set from the Spanish players, top-seeded Nadal soon took control of the tie to secure victory at the clay-court tournament.
Nadal, 29, unfurled a total of 24 winners against only nine for the 35-year-old Montanes; a wild-card entry this week.
“I started off very well, and it felt really good,” said world No.5 Nadal. “I had a great forehand today and the conditions were much better than yesterday.”
The Spanish 14-time Grand Slam winner who took a ninth Monte Carlo Masters title last week, continues his resurgence after a wretched 2015 and will next battle 12th-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy, who downed eighth-seeded Viktor Troicki of Serbia 6-3, 6-2.
The 31st–ranked Italian has been a bogey player for the Spaniard lately, eliminating him in the third round of last year’s tournament in Barcelona before bringing his US Open run to an early end after a thrilling five-setter.
Similar to his Monte Carlo feat, Nadal is seeking a ninth title at the Barcelona Open.
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