Rafael Nadal eases into Madrid quarterfinals

SportsMADRID: Rafael Nadal believes he will know better what shape he is in ahead of his quest for a 10th French Open title later this month after facing Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open on Friday.

The defending champion cruised into the last eight in the Spanish capital with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Italy’s Simone Bolelli on Thursday.

Nadal has yet to win a European clay court tournament this season after defeats to Novak Djokovic at the Monte Carlo Masters and Fabio Fognini at the Barcelona Open last month.

However, he remains the heavy favourite in the Spanish capital in the absence of world number one Djokovic.

“I am taking things day-by-day. Things don’t just happen in a week. I played well in Monte Carlo and seemed that I was back on the right path, and then in Barcelona I didn’t have the same rhythm.

“If in Barcelona I had confirmed what I did in Monte Carlo and here we had these two matches, I would tell that you I’m on the correct path, but today I think it’s too early.

“I have won two matches, which is positive. Let’s see what happens tomorrow. Tomorrow I have a complicated match. It’s a test and let’s see where I am.”

Nadal leads the head-to-head between the pair 5-0, but the Spaniard fears Dimitrov’s impressive victories over Fognini and Stan Wawrinka already this week could give him the upper hand.

“He is a very complete player. He serves well, has very good forehand and backhand too. He moves very well. He is a difficult opponent.

“The only way to beat him is to play at really high level.

“I think he has had more complicated matches than me this week. That’s an advantage for him. Let’s see what happens. I hope I’m going to be ready for the match and I’m going to have fun.”

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