Indian Wells, California – Spain's Rafael Nadal made quick work of Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov at the BNP Paribas Open, cruising to a 6-3, 6-2 victory to advance to the quarterfinals of this outdoor hard-court event.
Nadal took the court Wednesday afternoon focused on racing out to a quick lead and everything went according to plan as he grabbed the first three games handily.
The flashy Dolgopolov then started to settle down and win some easy points with his serve and also blast some flat forehands for winners past Nadal, who had said prior to the match that he was wary of the Ukrainian's shot-making ability.
But the world No. 2 remained calm, continued to hold serve and wrapped up the first set in 43 minutes.
The second set was even more comfortable for the Spaniard, who snagged a 5-1 lead with two service breaks before serving out the match in the eighth game.
Dolgopolov managed to hold serve in the seventh game and made Nadal sweat in the final game, which ended when the Ukrainian barely missed a forehand.
"He is a very difficult player to play against," Nadal said, referring to the Ukrainian's ability to mix up speeds and spins. "He hits very hard, produces winners from every part of the court. He is a funny player, good for tennis."
"I started very strong and he made a few mistakes, more than usual, with his backhand, which helped me a lot. Being in the quarterfinals here is fantastic for me."
With the win, Nadal ran his record against the Ukrainian to 3-0 and advanced for the seventh year in a row to the quarterfinals of Indian Wells, a tournament he has won on two occasions: 2007 and 2009.
Nadal, who knocked off Argentina's Leonardo Mayer and Spaniard Marcel Granollers in the second and third round, respectively, and has not yet dropped a set in the tournament, will take on Argentine David Nalbandian on Friday.
The 30-year-old Nalbandian, a former world No. 3 whose ranking has fallen to 74, has rediscovered his best form this tournament with an impressive win over world No. 10 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia on Tuesday and a big upset over world No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday.
In the match against Tsonga, Nalbandian survived a match point in the second set before rallying for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory.
In other fourth-round action Wednesday afternoon, Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci took the first set against world No. 3 Roger Federer but the Swiss great found his game in time to pull out a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.
Earlier Wednesday, Spain's Nicolas Almagro stunned world No. 7 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-0, saying afterward that his tennis was "nearly perfect."
"I'm very happy. I think it was a nearly perfect match," Almagro told Efe. "I felt very comfortable at all times and had the match well thought out from the first point, aware that I would have opportunities but also that I shouldn't let many slip away."
The win sent Almagro into a Thursday quarterfinal encounter with Serbia's Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1 and defending champion, who had to struggle before seeing off Spain's Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2.
Finally, in Wednesday's night match, Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro continued his strong recent run of form by edging Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (6-8), 6-2.
Del Potro on Friday will take on Federer, who defeated the Argentine in two hard-court events in February: the finals of Rotterdam and the semifinals of Dubai.
The BNP Paribas Open is one of the tennis season's nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, which rank only below the four Grand Slam tournaments and the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in terms of ranking points and prestige.