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Nadal, Nishikori, Almagro In Barcelona QF Action Friday

Barcelona, Spain

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• QUARTER-FINAL DAY: The 48-man draw at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell has been whittled down to just eight players who are all in action on Day 5. Leading the way on Pista Central today is world No. 1 Rafael Nadal. The eight-time champion brings a 10-0 FedEx H2H record into his match-up with compatriot Nicolas Almagro, who has won just two sets in their 10 meetings. World No. 17 Kei Nishikori will be looking to reach his fourth SF of the season when he takes on No. 12 seed Marin Cilic for the seventh time. The Japanese No. 1 leads their H2H series 4-2. The other two QF clashes see Ernests Gulbis take on Teymuraz Gabashvili and Philipp Kohlschreiber go up against Santiago Giraldo. Gulbis, who made four QF appearances last season, is set to contest his sixth QF of 2014.

• NADAL’S STREAK CONTINUES: Nadal will be looking to notch his 42nd consecutive win in Barcelona when he takes on Almagro today. The top seed has a 42-1 record in Barcelona, winning 41 consecutive matches and eight titles in the past nine years (did not play in 2010). His only loss came on his debut as a 15-year-old in 2003 when he lost to compatriot Alex Corretja in three sets in the 2R. During his 41-match winning streak here he has lost just three sets, dropping the last one in the second set of the 2008 final against Ferrer. Since losing that set to Ferrer, Nadal has won 43 consecutive sets here. The 27-year-old will also take sole ownership of 11th place on the Open Era match wins list with victory today. He is currently tied with the great Arthur Ashe on 683 wins.

• 2014 MATCH WIN LEADERS: Nadal and Cilic, both in action today, are among 2014’s standout players. The Spaniard and Croat are also two of four players to win multiple titles this year: Wawrinka (Chennai, Australian Open, Monte-Carlo), Cilic (Zagreb, Delray Beach), Nadal (Doha, Rio de Janeiro) and Djokovic (Indian Wells, Miami). Here’s a glance at this season’s win leaders:

RANK PLAYER 2014 W-L
1 Roger Federer 28-5
2 Rafael Nadal 25-4
3 Marin Cilic 25-7
5 Fabio Fognini 23-8
6 David Ferrer 22-8

• MAIDEN SEMI-FINAL BID: Gabashvili will be looking to reach his first ever Tour-level SF when he takes on Gulbis, with their FedEx H2H series tied at one win apiece. The Russian, who sent No. 2 seed David Ferrer crashing out – his first top 10 win since defeating world No. 8 Andy Roddick in the 3R at Roland Garros almost four years ago – has an 0-11 record in ATP World Tour QFs. His latest loss in the last eight of a Tour-level event came against Cilic in Delray Beach earlier this year.

DAY 5 FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS

PISTA CENTRAL

[9] Ernests Gulbis (LAT) vs Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Series tied 1-1
2008 Bucharest (Romania) Clay R32 T Gabashvili 6-2 2-6 6-4
2010 Delray Beach (U.S.A.) Hard R16 Ernests Gulbis 6-1 6-4

Other Meetings:
2004 Zell CH (Germany) Clay R32 T Gabashvili 7-6(4) 6-0
2007 New Haven Q (U.S.A.) Hard — T Gabashvili 3-6 7-6(9) 6-1
2007 ATP Masters Series Madrid Q (Spain) Hard — T Gabashvili 4-6 6-1 6-2

• Gulbis advanced to his sixth QF of the season with straight set wins over Spaniards Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Albert Montanes.
• Gulbis is making his sixth appearance in Barcelona. His previous best showing came in 2010 when he advanced to the QF (l. to Verdasco).
• Gulbis opened his season with a QF showing in Doha (l. to Nadal). At the ATP event in Rotterdam, he defeated Dimitrov and world No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro en route to the SF (l. to Berdych). He then moved to a career-high No. 18 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in February after winning the title in Marseille. He posted back-to-back top 10 wins over No. 9 Richard Gasquet in the SF and No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final, improving his record to 5-0 in title games.
• In March, Gulbis reached the QF at Indian Wells (l. to Isner). The Latvian has since dropped back down to No. 23 in the rankings after falling in his opening match in both Miami and Monte-Carlo.
• The Latvian finished 2013 in the top 30 for the first time since 2010, jumping 115 spots from the previous year. He equaled his year-end best ranking (No. 24) and won a personal-best 37 matches.
• Gulbis won two titles in 2013 – Delray Beach and St. Petersburg. His win in Delray Beach marked the first time a qualifier captured an ATP title since Jarkko Nieminen won Sydney in 2012.
• Gulbis is bidding to reach his first SF in Barcelona and third of the season (2-3 in QFs this year).
• Gabashvili booked his place in his second QF of the season with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Spanish wild card Inigo Cervantes. In the 2R, the Russian posted his first top 10 win since defeating world No. 8 Andy Roddick in the 3R at Roland Garros almost four years ago, defeating No. 2 seed David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2. He opened with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Poland’s Michal Przysiezny.
• Gabashvili is making his eighth appearance in Barcelona. He had never advanced beyond the 2R before this year.
• In February, Gabashvili fell to 0-11 in ATP World Tour QFs when he lost to eventual champion Cilic in the final eight at Delray Beach.
• The Russian finished 2013 ranked in the top 100 for the third time and first since 2010, jumping 102 ranking spots during the year.
• Gabashvili is bidding to reach his first Tour-level SF (0-11 in QFs).

[12] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs [4] Kei Nishikori (JPN)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nishikori leads 4-2
2008 ATP Masters Series Indian Wells (U.S.A.) Hard R128 Marin Cilic 6-2 6-4
2010 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R64 Kei Nishikori 5-7 7-6(6) 3-6 7-6(3) 6-1
2011 Chennai (India) Hard R32 Kei Nishikori 4-6 7-6 6-2
2012 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Marin Cilic 6-3 6-4 6-7(3) 6-3
2013 Memphis (U.S.A.) Hard QF Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-2
2014 Brisbane (Australia) Hard QF Kei Nishikori 6-4 5-7 6-2

• Cilic notched his 25th victory of the season, posting a 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-6(5) win over Tommy Robredo to reach his fifth QF of the season. He saved five of six BPs during the match, which lasted two hours and 47 minutes. The Croat, who is making his debut in Barcelona this week, opened with a 6-1, 7-6(2) defeat of qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov.
• Cilic collected his 10th and 11th ATP World Tour titles at home in Zagreb (d. Haas) and in Delray Beach (d. Anderson) in February. He also posted back-to-back top wins over world No. 10 Tsonga and No. 6 Murray en route to the final of the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam (l. to Berdych in F).
• Cilic has climbed 10 spots (No. 37 – 27) in the Emirates ATP Rankings since the start of the year.
• Cilic finished the 2013 season in the top 50 for a sixth consecutive year, winning a ninth career title.
• Cilic is looking to reach his fourth SF of the year (3-1 in QFs this season) and first in Barcelona.
• Nishikori reached the QF in Barcelona for the second time in three years with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Andrey Golubev, converting on six of 12 BP opportunities. The Japanese No. 1 posted a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut in his opening match.
• Nishikori is making his fourth appearance in Barcelona. His previous best showing came in 2012 when he advanced to the QF before falling to Verdasco.
• Nishikori’s highlight of the season came in Memphis in February when he won the fourth title of his career (d. Karlovic in F). His other standout performances came in the opening week of the season in Brisbane where he reached the SF (l. to eventual champ Hewitt) and in Indian Wells last month where he posted top 10 wins over Ferrer and Federer en route to the final four before withdrawing ahead of his clash with Djokovic after picking up a left groin injury.
• Nishikori has finished inside the top 25 in the past three seasons while becoming the highest ranked player from his country in ATP history. He reached a career-high No. 11 on June 17, 2013.
• Nishikori is looking to reach his fourth SF of 2014 (3-0 in QFs) and first in Barcelona.

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [6] Nicolas Almagro (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 10-0
2004 Palermo (Italy) Clay R32 Rafael Nadal 6-1 7-5
2006 Barcelona (Spain) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 7-6(2) 6-3
2008 Roland Garros (France) Clay QF Rafael Nadal 6-1 6-1 6-1
2009 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Rafael Nadal 7-5 6-4 6-4
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris Hard R32 Rafael Nadal 3-6 7-6(2) 7-5
2010 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Clay SF Rafael Nadal 4-6 6-2 6-2
2010 Roland Garros (France) Clay QF Rafael Nadal 7-6(2) 7-6(3) 6-4
2012 Roland Garros (France) Clay QF Rafael Nadal 7-6(4) 6-2 6-3
2013 Acapulco (Mexico) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 7-5 6-4
2013 Barcelona (Spain) Clay F Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-3

• Nadal clinched his 41st successive victory in Barcelona with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Ivan Dodig in the 3R. The Spaniard drew level with Arthur Ashe (683) in 11th place on the Open Era match wins list with the win and will overtake the American with victory today. The world No. 1 overcame compatriot Albert Ramos 7-6(2), 6-4 in his opening match.
• Nadal is making his 10th appearance here. He has won the title eight times: 2005 (d. Ferrero), 2006 (d. Robredo), 2007 (d. Canas), 2008 (d. Ferrer), 2009 (d. Ferrer), 2011 (d. Ferrer), 2012 (d. Ferrer) and 2013 (d. Almagro). He has won 41 matches in succession since falling to Alex Corretja in the 2R on his debut in 2003. He has also won his last 43 sets in a row.
• Nadal opened the season by defeating Gael Monfils to clinch the title in Doha. Qatar was the 17th different country the Spaniard had lifted an ATP title in. In chronological order, he had previously won in Poland, Brazil, Mexico, Monaco, Spain, Italy, France, Sweden, Germany, Canada, China, U.A.E., U.S., England, Australia and Japan. He went on to reach the Australian Open final (d. No. 6 Federer in SF, l. to Wawrinka in F).
• Nadal collected his 43rd clay-court title and 62nd overall when he defeated Dolgopolov in the inaugural Rio Open in February. The Spaniard equaled Guillermo Vilas in seventh place on the Open Era titles list with the victory.
• At Indian Wells, Nadal advanced to the 3R where he was upset in three sets by Dolgopolov. He bounced back to reach the final in Miami (l. to Djokovic).
• Last week in Monte-Carlo, Nadal became just the 11th player in the Open Era to win at least 300 matches on clay when he defeated Seppi in the 3R. Countryman Carlos Moya was the last player to win at least 300 career matches on the surface in 2007. Nadal’s win percentage of .932 on clay is the best of all-time.
• Nadal appeared in a career-high 14 finals in 2013, winning 10 titles. He returned to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on October 7 and finished the season in top spot for the third time.
• In 2013, Nadal became the first player to win 35+ matches on both clay and hard in a season.
• Nadal has been ranked in the top five longer than any active player (since May 9, 2005) and his total of 62 career titles is the second-best among active players (Federer 77).
• Nadal was named as the recipient of the Laureus World Comeback of the Year award at a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur in March. It was his third Laureus statuette overall. He also won the Laureus Sport of the Year award in 2011 and the Newcomer of the Year award in 2006.
• Nadal is bidding to reach his fifth SF of the season (4-1 in QFs) and ninth in Barcelona (8-0 in QFs).
• Almagro avenged his Houston final loss to Fernando Verdasco, posting a 6-3, 6-3 win over his compatriot in the 3R. The 28-year-old defeated Martin Klizan 7-5, 7-6(4) in his opening match.
• Almagro is making his 11th appearance in Barcelona. His best showing came last year when he reached the final for the first time (l. to Nadal). He has advanced to the SF on two other occasions, in 2006 (l. to Nadal) and 2011 (l. to Ferrer).
• Almagro contested his first tournament in more than three months in Vina del Mar in February (l. to Fognini 7-6 in 3rd set in SF). He followed on with another SF appearance in Buenos Aires where he lost to David Ferrer for the 15th time in succession. He withdrew from Indian Wells with a right shoulder injury after 1R exits in Rio de Janeiro (l. to Dolgoplov) and Sao Paulo (l. to Debonis) before reaching the 3R in Miami (l. to Isner).
• Almagro’s best showing this season came in Houston two weeks ago when he reached the final (l. to Verdasco). He advanced to the 3R a week later in Monte-Carlo (l. to Wawrinka).
• Almagro finished 2013 inside the top 20 for the fourth year in a row (fifth in six years) and reached the QF or better 11 times (7-4). His streak of winning an ATP title for seven years in a row came to an end, however, with two final appearances in Houston (l. to Isner) and Barcelona (l. to Nadal).
• Almagro is bidding to reach his fourth SF of the year (3-0 in QFs) and his fourth at the Barcelona Open (3-1 in QFs here).

Santiago Giraldo (COL) vs [10] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Giraldo leads 1-0
2010 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid Clay R64 Santiago Giraldo 1-6 6-2 6-3

• Giraldo booked his place in his third QF of the season, saving MPs en route to a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Dominic Thiem, the youngest player ranked in the top 100. The Colombian posted victories over Igor Sijsling and Fabio Fognini, who retired while trailing 6-0, 4-0, in his opening two matches.
• Giraldo is making his third appearance in Barcelona. He reached the 3R in both his previous outings – 2011 (l. to Nadal) and 2012 (l. to Murray).
• Giraldo’s best performances of the season came in Vina del Mar – where he collected his 100th match-win on the ATP World Tour en route to the SF (l. to L Mayer) – and two weeks ago in Houston (l. to eventual champ Verdasco in SF).
• Giraldo finished 2013 inside the top 75 for the fourth straight year, highlighted by three ATP World Tour QF appearances – Acapulco, Bogota and Atlanta.
• Giraldo is bidding to reach his third SF of the season (2-0 in QFs) and his first in Barcelona.
• Kohlschreiber advanced to his fifth QF of the season with straight set wins over Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Jurgen Melzer.
• Kohlschreiber is making his fourth appearance in Barcelona. He reached the SF last season after being handed a walkover by Thomaz Bellucci in the QF (l. to Almagro).
• Kohlschreiber’s best showing this year came in Dubai where he advanced to the SF (l. to Berdych). He has reached an additional three QFs in 2014: Auckland (l. to Isner), Zagreb (l. to Evans) and Rotterdam (l. to Sijsling). In Auckland, the German’s 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-7(5) defeat to Isner in the QF had no breaks of serve.
• Kohlschreiber finished 2013 inside the top 30 for the fourth time in six years, reaching three finals in Auckland, Munich and Stuttgart.
• Kohlschreiber is bidding to reach the SF in Barcelona for the second year in succession. He is also looking to advance to his second SF of the season (1-3 in QFs this year).

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