Nadal struggles past world number 111 Ivashka

Friday, 23 April 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Rafael Nadal

BARCELONA, AFP: Rafael Nadal had to fight back from a set down to defeat Belarus qualifier Ilya Ivashka on Wednesday as the Spaniard survived an early test in his bid to win the Barcelona title for the 12th time.

The 34-year-old Nadal, who suffered a surprise quarter-final exit at the hands of Andrey Rublev in the Monte Carlo Masters last week, dropped the first set against the world 111 before pulling through 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

It was Nadal’s 62nd win in the tournament against just four defeats.

“He played well. He played at a very high level, and I didn’t, especially at the beginning,” said Nadal who has lost only once on clay to a player outside the top 100 and that was 17 years ago.

In Thursday’s quarter-final, Nadal will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the 2014 and 2015 Barcelona champion, who defeated Chile’s Christian Garin 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-1.

Nishikori has two career wins over Nadal in 13 meetings but has never got the better of the world number three on clay.