Madrid Open | Nadal and Thiem make the last eight; Medvedev exits

Rafael Nadal took out Alexei Popyrin in straight sets.   | Photo Credit: Paul White

Rafael Nadal swept into the Madrid Open quarterfinals on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Alexei Popyrin, while Ashleigh Barty booked her spot in the women’s final by ending the run of wildcard Paula Badosa.

Nadal, a five-time champion in the Spanish capital, saved five of six break points in a challenging opening set as he faced the 76th-ranked Popyrin for the first time.

A lone break of the Australian’s serve in the second was enough for the 20-time Grand Slam winner to seal the match.

Young and energetic

“I knew he was coming with confidence, he has this energy that the young players have,” Nadal, 13 years older, said of Popyrin.

“From what I could do, it was a good match, and I’m happy to make it to the quarterfinals again here.”

US Open champion Dominic Thiem, the Madrid runner-up in 2017 and 2018, also reached the last eight after beating Alex de Minaur 7-6(7), 6-4.

World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev exited in the last 16 following a 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-1 defeat by 16th seed Cristian Garin of Chile.

Medvedev, a two-time Grand Slam runner-up heads to Rome next. He has never won a match in the Italian capital, and he has failed to get past the first round of the French Open in four previous tries.

Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan progressed to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-3 win over in-form Russian Aslan Karatsev.

Barty cruised into the women’s final with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Badosa, as the World No. 1 avenged last month’s loss to the Spaniard in Charleston.

Barty, the 2019 French Open champion, is targeting a fourth title of the year following wins at Melbourne’s Yarra Valley Classic, in Miami and on clay in Stuttgart.

The results:

Women: Semifinals: Ashleigh Barty bt Paula Badosa 6-4, 6-3. Quarterfinals: Aryna Sabalenka bt Elise Mertens 6-1, 4-0 retd.

Men: Pre-quarterfinals: Rafael Nadal bt Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-3; Dominic Thiem bt Alex de Minaur 7-6(7), 6-4; Alexander Bublik bt Aslan Karatsev 6-4, 6-3; Cristian Garin bt Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-1.

Second round: John Isner bt Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(6); Stefanos Tsitsipas bt Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-2.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 4:32:33 PM |

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