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  • Nadal cruises into quarterfinals at Barcelona Open

  • BARCELONA, Spain — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal looked more like his confident self on the clay in passing Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3, 6-3, to reach the Barcelona Open quarterfinals on Thursday.
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  • BARCELONA, Spain — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal looked more like his confident self on the clay in passing Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3, 6-3, to reach the Barcelona Open quarterfinals on Thursday.
    Nadal was struggling with his game coming into the event and an unconvincing opening victory on Wednesday did little to calm the nerves.
    But Nadal looked more assured as he ousted the 37th-ranked Dodig in 83 minutes in the third round.
    Nadal moves on to face fellow Spanish player Nicolas Almagro in an early rematch of last season's final, which Nadal won for his eight title at the tournament in the Catalan capital. Almagro advanced after beating Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-3.
    Dodig's attempts to come forward were met with passing shots from Nadal, who finally broke for 3-2 after coming to the net to force Dodig into netting a return.
    Dodig broke right back but Nadal had found his rhythm as he forced Dodig into 15 errors in the first set, when he won the last three games for the lead.
    Nadal maintained his play to start the second set, when he made fewer errors and seemed to grow in confidence to break Dodig for the fourth time as he sealed the win.
    Earlier, fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori beat Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-0, 6-4. Nishikori had been sidelined by a groin injury since beating Roger Federer four weeks ago.
    Russian player Teymuraz Gabashvili followed up his win over fifth-ranked David Ferrer with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over another Spaniard, Inigo Cervantes, to reach the quarterfinals. Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, Marin Cilic of Croatia, and Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany all won to advance.
    Porsche Grand Prix
    At Stuttgart, Germany, defending champion Maria Sharapova defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-3 to set up a Porsche Grand Prix quarterfinal with top seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
    The sixth-seeded Sharapova needed a little over an hour and a half to defeat her fellow Russian, keeping alive her dream of winning the tournament for the third year in a row.
    Polish world No. 3 Radwanska was rarely troubled in wrapping up a 6-3, 6-2 win over Italy's Roberta Vinci.
    Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia rallied from a 5-2 first-set deficit to edge second seed Simona Halep of Romania 7-5, 7-6 (4) in the late match.
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