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Nishikori, Almagro Storm Into Quarters

Barcelona, Spain

Nishikori© Barcelona Open Banc SabadellKei Nishikori dropped just four games in reaching the quarter-finals.

Fourth seed Kei Nishikori stormed into the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Thursday with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Andrey Golubev. The Japanese player converted six of his 12 break points and won five games in a row in the second set to prevail in 76 minutes.

"After the injury I had a good two weeks training," said Nishikori. "Today was a difficult match for me. I was winning, playing perfectly in the first set and he was playing much better in the second. I was 4-1 down, but I tried to keep concentrating."

Nishikori is making his return from a groin injury this week and is through to his fourth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season. The 24 year old captured his fourth title in Memphis (d. Karlovic) and beat David Ferrer and Roger Federer back-to-back to reach the Miami semi-finals before suffering his injury.

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Marin Cilic, the No. 12 seed, recorded his second win this year (also Indian Wells) over fifth seed Tommy Robredo, the 2004 champion (d. Gaudio) and 2006 runner-up (l. to Nadal), 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-6(5) in two hours and 49 minutes. He will next face Nishikori.

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In an all-Spanish clash, sixth seed Nicolas Almagro defeated 2010 champion Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-3, avenging the loss he suffered when the pair clashed earlier this month in the Houston final and improving to a 4-7 mark in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

The 28-year-old Almagro reached the final of this ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tournament last year, finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal, and will face the top seed in the quarter-finals after Nadal beat Ivan Dodig in the evening session.

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Ninth seed Ernests Gulbis defeated Albert Montanes 7-5, 6-1 to book his quarter-final spot. The Latvian won 72 per cent of his service points and broke serve four times to claim his 17th win of the season. The Marseille champion next will face Teymuraz Gabashvili, who backed up his victory over David Ferrer by beating wild card Inigo Cervantes 6-4, 6-2.

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