© Argentina Open/Sergio Llamera

Rafael Nadal eliminó a Paolo Lorenzi en los cuartos de final.

Nadal Beats The Heat & Lorenzi

Spaniard wins over Lorenzi on scorching day

With the temperature soaring above 33 degrees Celsius on a steamy Friday afternoon in Buenos Aires, Rafael Nadal held on for a momentum-boosting win over Paolo Lorenzi at the Argentina Open.

After defeating good friend Juan Monaco with some difficulty on Thursday night, Nadal overcame Lorenzi 7-6(3), 6-2 to record his 346th win on clay. He remains on track to defend his Buenos Aires title and win a 48th title on his favourite surface.

Nadal targeted the Italian’s weaker backhand wing from the outset, frequently going down-the-line on his two-hander to goad Lorenzi into rolling the ball toward his world-famous lefty forehand. The 34 year old made Nadal sweat by going big on his forehand whenever possible and rushing the net with success late in the set. Unfortunately for the Italian, however, the gambit failed at a critical moment, when Nadal hit a vintage running pass before securing the opening set tie-break.

Playing with the lead allowed Nadal to get on his front foot. He began to push a tiring Lorenzi far behind the baseline, which allowed him to race toward the finish line by alternating aggressive drives with delicate drop shot winners. He secured two breaks in the second set and closed out the match in just under two hours.

In the semi-finals, Nadal will face fifth seed Dominic Thiem, who downed Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-2 in 80 minutes. Thiem, the youngest player in the Top 20, prevented Lajovic from winning his first ATP World Tour quarter-final match in eight attempts. Nadal won the pair’s lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting in straight sets at Roland Garros in 2014.

A resurgent Nicolas Almagro got the better of third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the first time in seven meetings with a 6-2, 7-5 victory. Almagro, ranked No. 72 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, notched his first win over a Top 10 opponent since defeating Nadal in Barcelona two years ago. His last semi-final appearance came in Kitzbuhel last August (l. to Mathieu).

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