Nadal advances to Hamburg quarters

Hamburg, July 31 (IANS) Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal booked his spot in the quarter-finals of the bet-at-home Open here with a hard-fought 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) victory over the Czech Republic’s Jiri Vesely.

Playing the 45th-ranked Czech for the first time, Nadal on Thursday snagged the opening set in 56 minutes. But then lost his serve three times in the second set, due in part to five double faults, and did not pull away from his pesky 22-year-old opponent until the tiebreaker, reports Efe.

Nadal, who has had his worst season in more than a decade and seen his ranking fall to No. 10, opted to play this mid-season clay-court event in a bid to get his game back on track.

On Friday, the 14-time Grand Slam champion will take on Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 winner over Poland’s Jerzy Jankovic, for a berth in the semi-finals.

In other second-round Hamburg action on Thursday, Italy’s Andreas Seppi defeated Germany’s Florian Mayer 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and Italy’s Simone Bolelli topped Spain’s Jaume Munar 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4.

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