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Nadal Beats Dodig For QF Spot

Barcelona, Spain

Nadal© AFP/Getty ImagesRafael Nadal has not lost in Barcelona since 2003.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal claimed his 41st successive victory at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Thursday evening as he defeated Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals. 

Victory takes Nadal level with Arthur Ashe in 11th place on the Open Era match wins list. The Spaniard boasts a 683-133 mark and is closing in on 10th-placed Boris Becker, coach of Novak Djokovic, who finished his career with 713 wins.

The 27-year-old Nadal has not lost at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona since 2003 and is looking to win this ATP World Tour 500 clay-court title for the ninth time. He inched closer to his goal as he improved to a 3-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Dodig, hitting 15 winners and benefitting from 23 unforced errors from the Croatian.

"I think I improved everything in my game a little bit," said Nadal. "I'm happy with the way I played. I was a little bit more aggressive with more control on my shots and changing direction better than I did yesterday. I was able to hit a few winners with the right confidence. That's the important thing for me."

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Nadal is chasing his 44th tour-level clay-court title this week after being foiled in his attempt to reclaim the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters crown last week, falling in the quarter-finals to David Ferrer. The left-hander has already won two ATP World Tour titles this season, lifting the trophy in Doha (d. Monfils) and Rio de Janeiro (d. Dolgopolov).

Tenth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber closed on a second semi-final appearance in a row in Barcelona as he defeated Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 6-3 in 86 minutes. The German goes on to face Santiago Giraldo after the Colombian ended Dominic Thiem’s run with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory in two hours and 27 minutes. 

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