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Nadal On Track In Madrid, Faces Ferrer In QFs

Madrid, Spain

Nadal© AFP/Getty ImagesRafael Nadal defeated Mikhail Youzhny to reach the quarter-finals.

Rafael Nadal will contest his 55th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final against David Ferrer after cruising past Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday at the Mutua Madrid Open.

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The 26-year-old Nadal improved to a 28-2 match record on the season as he dispatched Youzhny in 75 minutes. The left-hander won 70 per cent of his service points and broke his Russian opponent five times, improving to a 10-4 advantage in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Nadal is looking to reach his seventh final in seven tournaments since his comeback from a seven-month injury lay-off in February. The Mallorcan has won the Madrid trophy twice before, most recently in 2010 with victory over Roger Federer.

"Since I've been back, I haven't had the security that I am in my perfect moment," admitted Nadal. "I just have to try and feel that I am getting better and better day after day. So, I have to have my feet on the ground. I made it to the quarter-finals of Madrid. For me, it's lovely to be able to say that today. I'll try to enjoy the quarter-final match tomorrow."

Ferrer won a thrilling third-round clash with the in-form German Tommy Haas. In a contest between two of the tour’s veterans, 31-year-old Ferrer defeated 35-year-old Haas 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 10 minutes, battling from a break down in the final set.

Ferrer faces an up-hill battle though if he is to reach the semi-finals in Madrid for the second time. The Valencia native trails Nadal 4-17 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and in their past six sets contested on clay, he has won just seven games. Nadal has won 14 of their 15 clay-court meetings.

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"I will try to play a really good match and see," said Ferrer. "It's not only about tactics. It's just that Rafa is a really good player. It's very difficult to beat him. We'll see how it goes. I will try to play aggressively. I will try to miss as few balls as possible, and let's hope that Rafa doesn't have his day."

Ferrer is coming off a runner-up finish at the Portugal Open in Oeiras (l. to  Wawrinka) and has compiled a 30-7 match record on the season, winning titles in Auckland (d. Kohlschreiber) and Buenos Aires (d. Wawrinka).

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