Rafael Nadal recovered from a poor start to beat Benoit Paire 7-6, 6-2 in a delayed third round match of the Barcelona Open. The victory means the Spaniard is on the verge of a possible eight Barcelona Open title in nine years.
Nadal was supposed to meet the 13th seeded Frenchman on Thursday, but the match was delayed due to rainfall and he will be playing his quarter- final against Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori or unseeded Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos later on Friday. The chances of an impending delay due to rain forecast are however, rife.
Frenchman, Paire had never played Nadal before and he started with lots of aggression on the clay court at Real Club de Tenis. He broke the world number 5 in the opening game. However, Nadal broke back before taking the tiebreak 7-2.
Further breaks in the 5th and 7th games of the second set secured victory for the 26- year- old Spaniard and extended his winning streak at the tournament to 36 matches.
“It wasn’t brilliant but getting the victory was the most important thing,” Nadal told Spanish television TVE.
“Today was going to be a long day and it was good to win in two sets after a bad start,” he added.
“We are taking things step by step and this afternoon’s opponent is going to be at a very high lavel so let’s see if I can play better than this morning.”
Nadal is likely to meet Thomas Berdych in the semi- finals. The third seed Czech plays his third round match against unseeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo later on Friday.
World number four, David Ferrer, lost to Russian qualifier Dmitry Tursunov in the second round on Wednesday.