Murray stays perfect, Nadal hits 50 in Barcelona

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Barcelona (AFP) – Andy Murray made it 11 wins in 11 meetings with Feliciano Lopez while Rafael Nadal racked up a 50th win in Barcelona as the two Grand Slam heavyweights reached the last eight Thursday.

World number one Murray, playing his first match of the week after Australia’s Bernard Tomic scratched from their scheduled opener with injury, downed Lopez 6-4, 6-4.

His win in one hour and 49 minutes extended his perfect record over the left-handed Lopez to 11-0, a run which now includes two wins on clay.

Murray will face either Roberto Bautista Agut or 10th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, the player who shocked him at the Monte Carlo Masters last week.

Nadal moved closer to a 10th Barcelona title when he cruised past South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4 for a 50th victory in the Spanish city.

“It wasn’t a day where I took a lot of free points because the court was very heavy. But I was serving well, at a good speed and changing directions well,” said Nadal, playing on a court named after him.

“I had the chance to hit my forehand after my serve and take control of the rallies, so I’m very happy with how I played.”

Third seed Nadal, fresh from a 10th Monte Carlo triumph at the weekend, next faces South Korean qualifier Hyeon Chung who stunned German eighth seed Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-4. 

The 20-year-old Korean, who has yet to drop a set this week, is through to his first quarter-final since Houston in April 2016. 

Japanese lucky loser Yuichi Sugita reached the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 win over seventh seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain. 

Having already earned the biggest victory of his career on Tuesday by defeating France’s world number 23 Richard Gasquet, Sugita scored a new career-best by breaking the Spaniard three times.

“It was my best win. It’s unbelievable,” said 28-year-old Sugita. “This was very important for my life, so I’m really glad about it.”

Sugita next faces Austrian fourth seed Dominic Thiem, a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 winner over Dan Evans of Britain.

    <figure><figcaption>British tennis player Andy Murray serves to Spanish tennis player Feliciano Lopez in Barcelona on April 27, 2017
        <span>Copyright AFP Josep LAGO</span>
      </figcaption><img src="https://desiforce.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/5c84c78a5dec46b7e78aa2f3c20831dbcccd2a62.jpg" width="768" height="512"><figcaption>Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal returns the ball to South African tennis player Kevin Anderson in Barcelona on April 27, 2017
        <span>Copyright AFP Josep LAGO</span>
      </figcaption></figure>