| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo courtesy of USTA/Brad Penner

 

Rafael Nadal won his 60th career match on the clay courts of Barcelona as he defeated fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-3, 6-3 to reach the Barcelona Open quarterfinals.

“This match was important for me,” said Nadal. “Yesterday I had a tough match. I took a setp forward and was able to play with more energy.”

It was the most impressive Nadal had looked since returning from injury, having lost in the Monte Carlo semifinals last week and narrowly defeating Leonardo Mayer in his opening round match in Barcelona.

Nadal moves on to play Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff for a spot in the semifinals. Struff upset fifth-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 earlier in the day.

Nadal was squaring off with Ferrer for possibly the last time, as the 37-year-old Ferrer plans to retire after next week’s Madrid Open. It was Ferrer’s last time playing in Barcelona and had a hard time holding back tears as he received an ovation from the audience, and placed his pink headband on the court.

“I am happy to be able to finish this tournament on the center court, playing against Nadal,” said Ferrer. “I gave it my all.”