Rafael Nadal advanced to his fourteenth quarterfinal of the Barcelona Open after a close 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 win over Kei Nishikori in two hours and 19 minutes. Nadal struggled like in the opening clash against Ilya Ivashka a day earlier, still doing enough to beat the Japanese for the twelfth time in 14 games.
The Spaniard lost 40% of points on serve and worked hard in his games to fend off 11 of 13 break opportunities, surrendering five breaks to seal the deal and advance to the quarterfinals. The 11-round winner stuck with a service winner in the first game and took four straight points in the comeback to break early when another former champion missed a backhand.
Nadal saved two break points in the third game and brought it home on Nishikori's forehand error to open a 3-0 gap. The home favorite put up a deep comeback in game four that Kei couldn't control to forge a 4-0 lead before firing a serve winner a few minutes later to keep it at 15.
Serving to stay on set, Nishikori broke at 15 to experience the third consecutive break and deliver a zero to Nadal after half an hour. Rafa defended himself from a break point in the first game of the second set with a cross backhand and held on when Kei added a backhand error.
Shimane's double faulted in the second game to face a break opportunity, repelled it to stay in touch and leveled the score at 1-1 after a loose forehand from Nadal.
Nadal returned back on the Tour
Just as the world was beginning to return to some normalcy, the pandemic still continues to affect people’s lives.
In this particular context, tennis star Rafael Nadal has issued some concerning news. The 35-year-old player stated, “Hi all. I wanted to announce that on my return home after playing in the Abu Dhabi tournament, I have tested positive for COVID in the PCR test that was performed on me when I arrived in Spain.
Both in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, we passed controls every two days and all were negative, the last being on Friday and having the results on Saturday. I am having some unpleasant moments but I hope that I will improve little by little”.
The 20-time champion added, “I am now homebound and have reported the result to those who have been in contact with me. As a consequence of the situation, I have to have total flexibility with my calendar and I will analyze my options depending on my evolution.
I will keep you informed of any decisions about my future tournaments! Thank you all in advance for your support and understanding”.