RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) The King of Clay Rafael Nadal and defending champion David Ferrer are into the quarterfinals of the Rio Open, the third clay-court tournament in the month-long swing around Latin America.
Nadal and Ferrer – the top two seeded players – both beat fellow Spaniards to reach the last eight. Nadal beat Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 7-5 and Ferrer defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Nadal has won 14 of 15 matches against Almagro.
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Nadal will face Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, while Ferrer meets young Austrian Dominic Thiem in the last eight, a matchup of one of the most consistent players on clay against a 22-year-old viewed as a star of the next generation.
Thiem defeated Nadal last week in the semifinals in Buenos Aires en route to winning there. Ferrer has won 26 ATP singles titles – five last season.
''He's a very great player,'' Ferrer said of Thiem. ''He's young. He's playing with confidence. He's going to be a top player, for sure. I like his game and tomorrow is going to be tough I know. I'll have to play my best tennis for a win.''
Constant downpours the first three days forced schedulers to compress the schedule on Thursday and put Ferrer in action during the afternoon with suffocating humidity and temperatures around 35C (95F).
''These are extreme conditions, and it's very difficult to play in conditions like this,'' Ferrer said.
In other key men's matches in the combined ATP-WTA event, Federico Delbonis defeated Paolo Lorenzio 6-3, 6-0 and Dolgopolov won over Inigo Cervantes 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.
On the women's side, second-seeded Johanna Larsson was upset 6-4, 6-4 by Brazilian qualifier Paula Goncalves. No. 3 Danka Kovinic defeated Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-2, 6-3 and No. 6 Lara Arruabarrena beat Ana Bogdan 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/stephen-wade