Nadal claims 100th clay win from 101 matches

May 2nd, 2008 - 12:33 pm ICT by admin  

Barcelona, May 2 (DPA) Rafael Nadal played with his serving shoulder taped as he won his 100th clay match since spring 2005, to move into the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open. The Spanish clay king has lost just once during his recent run, going down in the fifth set of the 2007 Hamburg final to Roger Federer.

But with this week’s title defence at the Real club his main concern, top seed Nadal could not be bothered with totalling up his records.

He was more concerned with recovering after his win over good friend Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-3 in just under two hours in a battle of left-handers.

“I’m happier to be in the quarter-finals in Barcelona, I’m not thinking about the victories,” said the Spaniard who plays next against Argentine Juan Chela.

“This is one of my favourite events, playing Feliciano is always tough. Not only is he a friend but he’s also a difficult player. He served well and saved break points. I had to be very consistent and concentrated. It’s tough to keep play well after winning Monte Carlo.”

Nadal has won the last three editions of the event, one of the key tournaments in the run-up to Roland Garros starting on May 25. He beat Roger Federer for a fourth straight Monte Carlo crown last Sunday.

Fellow Spaniards paved the way Thursday, with the first three of six on court moving ahead into the quarter-finals in Mediterranean sun.

Nicolas Almagro defeated Croatia’s Mario Ancic 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to raise the day’s winning tally to five from six matches.

Compatriots David Ferrer, number six Tommy Robredo and Albert Montanes set the pace for Nadal.

Robredo beat Argentine ninth seed Guillermo Canas 6-1, 7-5 while Montanes ended the run of Russian qualifier Mikail Kukushkin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

There was a shock for South America as Argentina’s third seed David Nalbandian lost quickly to Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-1.

Wawrinka, a 2006 semi-finalist, will play for a spot in the semifinals against Montanes.

Second seed Ferrer fought for two and a half hours to finally subdue Ecuador’s Nicolas Lapentti, an over-30 who held the ninth ranking in 1999.

The underdog won five of the last six games in the opening set to nullify a Ferrer lead before the Spaniard squared it at a set each before riding a third-set break to success.

Ferrer will take on Robredo in the quarter-finals.

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