Millennium Post

Rafael Nadal ousts Paire to reach semis

Rafael Nadal overcame another hurdle on his way to a possible eighth Barcelona Open title in nine years when he recovered from a poor start to beat Benoit Paire 7-6 6-2 in their delayed third-round match on Friday.

Nadal had been set to meet the 13th-seeded Frenchman on Thursday before rain washed out the day’s play and he is due to play his quarter-final against Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori or unseeded Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos later on Friday. However, more rain is forecast in the Catalan capital.

‘It wasn’t brilliant but getting the victory was the most important thing,’ Nadal said. Nadal is on course to meet Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic in the semis.


French Open champion Maria Sharapova admitted she had dug deep to reach the quarterfinals of Stuttgart’s WTA tournament after her three-hour marathon victory over clay court specialist Lucie Safarova on Thursday. Sharapova, who won last year’s Stuttgart title en route to her Roland Garros victory, needed three hours, nine minutes to squeeze past her Czech opponent for a 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3 second-round victory. With a 5-2 lead in the third set and serving for the match, Sharapova squandered three match points as Safarova broke her, before the Russian returned the compliment to claim the match. ‘I’ve had a few three-hour games in my career, so I knew I just had to keep fighting until the end,’ said the statuesque Russian, who faces former world number one Ana Ivanovic in Friday’s quarterfinals. ‘That’s when it’s the time to get the game-plan going and calm down a little bit. ‘Clay is one of her favourite surfaces and I knew this was going to be a tough game.’
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