Shanghai: World number one Rafael Nadal continued his rich vein of form as he swept aside Fabio Fognini of Italy in straight sets to storm into quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters here on Thursday.
The 31-year-old secured an immediate break in the second set to leave his Italian opponent with a mountain to climb, and two further breaks followed as Nadal wrapped up the match after one hour and two minutes on court.
The Swiss great, eyeing a second Shanghai Masters title, broke in the first game of the match and twice in the second set to march into the last eight.
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The 16-time Grand Slam victor saw off the Bulgarian Dimitrov in Beijing last week but suffered some hairy moments in getting the better of him again in a nervy quarter-final played in overcast conditions.
Nadal will today lock horns with sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals of the men's singles event.
In the game immediately after that close call, Nadal dampened Dimitrov's spirits further with a break of his own to lead 5-2 and serve out the set, although the latter played fiercely in his attempt to upset the favourite.
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Nadal took the momentum into the next game to immediately break Dimitrov and finally end the Bulgarian's resolve.
A relieved Nadal looked up to the heavens and raised his arms at the end. The fourth-seeded Croatian improved to 39-16 on the year after he defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-4 in 81 minutes on Friday.
"It's better like this than having long matches, you save, a little bit more, the body", Nadal said.
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