Nadal Sets Cuevas Clash

Rafael Nadal beats young gun Jiri Vesely to reach the Hamburg quarter-finals

Top seed Rafael Nadal beat Jiri Vesely 6-4, 7-6(2) on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals at the bet-at-home Open.

The 2008 champion now holds a 23-6 match record on clay this season as he looks to add to his 46 clay-court titles.

“I think I played a good match,” said Nadal. “Something that I am proud of today, very happy with, [is] my attitude and [I’m] very happy with the way that I played. I just need a little bit more consistency."

Nadal and Vesely traded breaks to start the match, but Nadal clinched the crucial break in the third game. The Spaniard saved a break point as he served for the opening set, but ultimately clinched it. The two again traded breaks early on in the second set, but in the fifth game, Nadal broke on his fourth opportunity of the game to grasp a 3-2 lead.

Vesely would save a match point in the second set due to an untimely double fault from the Spaniard. In the eventual tie-break, Nadal grabbed a mini-break and went on to claim victory after two hours and 11 minutes.

Nadal will next face fifth seed Pablo Cuevas, who battled past Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

The 29-year-old Cuevas, a semi-finalist in Hamburg in 2009, notched his 23rd win of the season as he defeated Janowicz in one hour and 34 minutes. Twenty of Cuevas’ victories this year have come on clay, highlighted by winning his third ATP World Tour title in Sao Paulo (d. Vanni) and reaching the final in Istanbul (l. to Federer).

It will be the second meeting of the season for Nadal and Cuevas. The Mallorcan leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 1-0, having won in three sets when the pair met in February in Rio de Janeiro.

"He’s one of the best players of the world, especially on clay," Nadal said of his next opponent. "It’s a big match and I know I have to play well if I want to be in that semi-finals. I’m going to fight for it."

Fourth seed Andreas Seppi finished strongly to beat German wild card Florian Mayer 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 37 minutes. The Italian goes on to face countryman Simone Bolelli, who prevailed 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-4 over Jaume Munar in the last match of the day.

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