Rafael Nadal celebrates defeating Ivan Dodig in the Barcelona Open.
Top-ranked Rafael Nadal looked more like his confident self on the clay in passing Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3, 6-3, to reach the Barcelona Open quarterfinals on Thursday.
Nadal was struggling with his game coming into the event and an unconvincing opening victory on Wednesday did little to calm the nerves.
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But Nadal looked more assured as he ousted the 37th-ranked Dodig in 83 minutes in the third round.
Nadal moves on to face fellow Spanish player Nicolas Almagro in an early rematch of last season’s final, which Nadal won for his eight title at the tournament in the Catalan capital. Almagro advanced after beating Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-3.
Dodig’s attempts to come forward were met with passing shots from Nadal, who finally broke for 3-2 after coming to the net to force Dodig into netting a return.