© Peter Staples/ATP World Tour

Eyes on the prize... Rafael Nadal defeats Albert Ramos-Vinolas Friday to set a quarter-final meeting with Nick Kyrgios later in the evening.

Nadal Sets Up Blockbuster QF Against Kyrgios

Duo will play their quarter-final later today

Rafael Nadal remains on course to lift a record 31st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and second Cincinnati title on Friday by reaching the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals.

The top seed and 2013 champion knocked out his Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(1), 6-2 in one hour and 38 minutes mid-afternoon at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. He will now rest and prepare to meet Australian Nick Kyrgios later today. Nadal leads 2-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, ahead of their first hard-court meeting.

"I'm very happy to be in the quarter-finals," said Nadal. "It was a tough match this afternoon against Albert, and now [it will be] another very, very difficult match against Kyrgios. So I just need to be ready, to play my best. The only way to try to have success in that match against Nick is just playing aggressive and play very focused all the time, and, of course play at a great level of tennis."

Ramos-Vinolas held his own in the first set, using his powerful forehand to pierce Nadal’s defence. But the World No. 24, who was seeking his first win in his fourth meeting against Nadal, paid the price for attacking Nadal’s forehand. Ramos-Vinolas saved one set point at 4-5, Ad-out, with a forehand winner under pressure, but he crumbled in the tie-break.

Nadal recovered from 0/40 at 1-2, with three service winners, then broke Ramos-Vinolas in the next game and then again for a 5-2 lead. He finished by hitting a forehand winner.

Nadal, who has now won 22 sets in a row against Spanish players, will begin his fourth stint at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday. The 31 year old has compiled an ATP World Tour best 49-8 match record in 2017, including four titles from seven finals.

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