Two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori defeated Jeremy Chardy of France in straight sets on Thursday to advance to the Barcelona Open quarterfinals.
Nishikori, seeded second and ranked No. 6 in the world, secured a 6-3, 7-5 win over the 33rd-ranked Chardy, his third straight victory against the Frenchman. Nishikori has a 4-2 advantage in their head-to-head meetings.
Nishikori had to battle hard for the second set. After he went up 2-1 with a break, Chardy immediately broke back, but Nishikori did likewise to go up 3-2. Chardy drew level at 5-5 with another break, but Nishikori broke back for the fourth time in the match and then held serve to win in 1 hour, 23 minutes.
Nishikori will play 11th-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, who defeated Russian qualifier Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-5 behind 10 aces.
“It will be a very complicated match,” Nishikori said. “He is difficult to play, serves well, and uses the slice a lot. We are very good friends so it will be interesting.”
Top seed Rafael Nadal also advanced by beating Spanish countryman Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-2, nearly 14 years after their first meeting as professionals. Nadal has yet to drop a set in six tour-level and challenger matches against Montanes. They exchanged early breaks but the top-seeded Nadal soon took control. Read More