Rafael Nadal moved a step closer to setting an ATP record as he eased into the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open with a straight-set victory over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.
Nadal, 32, is bidding to become the first player to win the same event 12 times and breezed through this quarter-final match, winning 7-5 7-5.
The former world number one will next face 2017 finalist Dominic Thiem.
“I’m feeling better in my game,” said the Spaniard.
“I hope to keep improving here at home,” added Nadal, who last week suffered a shock semi-final defeat to Italian Fabio Fognini at the Monte Carlo Masters – an event he has also won 11 times.
Nadal also had a struggle in the early rounds in Barcelona, losing a set at the event for the first time in four years in his win over Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday.
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Austrian Thiem also had a comfortable passage into the semi-finals, overcoming Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-2.
Meanwhile, Japan’s two-time champion Kei Nishikori beat Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4 7-5 to reach the semi-finals of the tournament for the fourth time.
Nishikori will take on Russian Daniil Medvedev on Saturday after the seventh seed defeated lucky loser Nicolas Jarry of Chile 6-3 6-4.