Cincinnati, Aug 19 (IANS) Top seed Rafael Nadal survived a stern test from unseeded compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas to register a 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 victory in a men’s singles third round match at the Cincinnati Masters tennis tournament here.
The Spanish star set up a quarter-final showdown against talented young Australian Nick Kyrgios, who battled past big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 hard-court event, reports Efe news agency.
Both Nadal and Kyrgios have to play two matches on Friday because their scheduled contests on Thursday were postponed by rain.
Nadal was unable to make much of an impression on Ramos-Vinolas’ service games in the first set, creating just one break point that he was unable to convert.
Then after cruising through the tiebreaker, the 15-time Grand Slam champion continued to struggle with Ramos-Vinolas at the beginning of the second set.
Nadal, however, found another gear when he erased three break points to even that set at 2-2 and then proceeded to win the final four games to wrap up the victory in an hour and 38 minutes.
Both Nadal, who will return to No. 1 when the new ATP rankings are released on Monday, and Ramos-Vinolas wore black ribbons on their shirts in honor of the victims of two deadly terrorist attacks in Spain’s Catalonia region on Thursday and early Friday.
“I’m very happy to be in the quarter-finals,” Nadal was quoted as saying on the ATP World Tour’s Web site.
“It was a tough match this afternoon against Albert, and now (it will be) another very, very difficult match against Kyrgios. So I just need to be ready to play my best.”
In other men’s action Friday afternoon, Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov cruised into the semi-finals with an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita.
The top women’s players also are competing at the Western & Southern Open to get their games fine-tuned for the US Open, which begins on Aug. 28.
Also on Friday, Czech top seed and world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova defeated Italian Camila Giorgi 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in the third round and then topped sixth-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.
Also advancing to the semifinals was Spanish No. 4 seed Garbiñe Muguruza, who edged eighth-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 5-7, 7-5.
In third-round action Friday afternoon, fifth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina was upset by Germany’s Julia Goerges 7-5, 6-4 and American wildcard Sloane Stephens battled past Russian Ekaterina Makarova 2-6. 6-3, 6-4.
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