Rafa Nadal scrapes through in Cincinnati Open

World number two Rafa Nadal scraped into the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Open after beating fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-6 6-7 7-6 in a fierce battle last night but his rivals all had comfortable paths into the last eight.

Seven of the top eight seeds have reached the quarter-finals with world number one Novak Djokovic and rivals Roger Federer and Andy Murray having little trouble.



The all-Spanish contest though was a gruelling grind in the mid-day heat that lasted three hours and 38 minutes and was decided by a mistake-filled third tie-break.



It was just the fifth time in 635 matches that Nadal has played in a three tie-break game but he has won on all five occasions.



Nadal, who gave up three match points in the decisive tie-break, stuck with the task to finish off a determined Verdasco despite never finding his rhythm.



While it was as close as could be, the game lacked the expected quality as Nadal made 41 unforced errors and Verdasco 59 while the world number two managed only 24 winners.



"Probably I had a little bit fewer mistakes than him when the match was close. It's true he was playing more spectacular points than my ones but I think I played with less mistake than him at the end," said Nadal.



Nadal will face Mardy Fish in the quarter-finals after the American beat France's Richard Gasquet 7-5 7-5 .



World number one Djokovic took his season record to 55-1 with a straightforward 6-3 6-3 win over Czech Radek Stepanek.



Djokovic showed some signs of weariness and conceded that it was a game he needed to push himself through.



"There are days like this where you don't feel like playing. But I hate losing, so I need to win and that is what motivates me on the court," he said.



Britain's Andy Murray had a relatively comfortable 6-2 7-5 win over American qualifier Alex Bogomolov.



The win gave Murray revenge for his poor defeat to Bogomolov in Miami earlier this year.



"I played better today. I was struggling a lot in Miami and didn't play well at all. So I am glad to come through in two sets and forget about the match I played against him in Miami," he said.



Murray will now play Frenchman Gilles Simon, who produced the only real surprise of the day when he beat fifth-seed Spaniard David Ferrer 6-4 6-7 6-4.



Switzerland's Federer, looking relaxed and composed, took just 55 minutes to defeat American James Blake 6-4 6-1 and he will now meet Czech Tomas Berdych who easily dealt with Spain's Nicolas Almagro 6-2 6-2.



"He's a dangerous player," Federer said of Berdych who beat him twice last year, including at Wimbledon.



"He hits the ball extremely hard and he can go through matches and dominate from the baseline.



"I have to make sure I get into his service games and play aggressively myself and see where it takes us.



"We've had some tough matches over the years, and I expect something similar."



BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory