Third seed Rafael Nadal remains on course for a 10th Barcelona Open title, advancing to the quarter-finals with a routine 6-3 6-4 victory over Kevin Anderson on Thursday.
It was Nadal’s 50th victory at the tournament he has won nine times, and the Mallorcan never looked in danger against the World No 66, forcing 10 break points throughout the match.
Nadal, who was only able to take two of them against the big-serving South African, admitted that the rain throughout the morning in Catalonia meant the newly-renamed Rafa Nadal Court was moving slower than usual, and will be hoping for better weather when he takes on either Alexander Zverev or Hyeon Chung in the last eight on Friday.
“They weren’t the best conditions for me. I much prefer it when the ball is doing more,” Nadal said. “It wasn’t easy. He’s a really tall player who hits the ball well in comfortable positions. I tried to make him take the ball on the move in order to make him less comfy.”
British No 2 Dan Evans’ campaign came to an end at the hands of Austria’s Dominic Thiem 7-6 6-2. Thiem will face Yuichi Sugita in the quarters after the Japanese knocked out home favourite Pablo Carreno Busta.