Rafa rockets into Brisbane quarters

A DISPLAY of sheer power and smarts saw former world number one and 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal make light work of Australian Jason Kubler at the Brisbane International last night. After getting past former major winner Dominic Thiem in the opening round, Nadal crushed the world number 102 to book a spot in the quarter finals.

Winning the first five games of the match and cruising through the first set 6-1, Nadal was simply sublime on his way to victory, as Kubler was left without any answers as to how to stop the Spanish star. The match took a total of 83 minutes, and though more competitive early in the second set, Nadal still smashed his way to a 6-1 6-2 victory in 83 minutes.

Nadal his four aces among 20 winners against the Australian, rarely giving him a chance to respond. Though the 37-year-old has achieved just about everything there is to accomplish on the ATP Tour, he gave an insight into his pre-match work into Kubler.

“I think I started the match playing very well, with a very good determination,” Nadal said post-match. “I saw videos of Jason before the match and I saw him playing very solidly from the baseline, so I came on court and tried to be aggressive with my shots from the baseline.

“It worked very well. I think it was a very positive match for me and the chance to play again tomorrow means a lot to me. Two victories after a long time being outside of the professional Tour is something that makes me feel good.”

Nadal faces another Australian in teh quarter finals after Jordan Thompson received a walkover against fourth seed Ugo Humbert and was one of three local talents to reach the last eight. For the Spaniard, his goal is to spend time on court and working towards a big 2024.

“I need matches, I need health, I need to keep practising well and of course the past two matches here help, and even the doubles on the first day,” Nadal said.

“Of course, victories and hours spent on court help. For me, every day that I have the chance to play is great news, so I’m just happy for that, happy that I came back after a long time and feel competitive. Let’s see how far I can go.”

In the other matches on the day, second seed Grigor Dimitrov also produced a dominant win, crushing German Daniel Altmaier 6-1 6-2 to set up a quarter finals clash with Rinky Hijikata who came from behind against Czech qualifier Tomas Machac to win 5-7 6-2 7-6.

The other two quarter finals which take place today are top seed Holger Rune up against Australian qualifier James Duckworth, while Italian young gun Matteo Arnaldi faces Russian Roman Safiullin.


Top seed and tournament favourite Andrey Rublev overcame a hard-fought couple of sets against British qualifier Liam Broady to reach the quarter finals in Hong Kong. Rublev needed to go to 10-8 in the second set tiebreaker to finally get it done, winning 6-4 7-6 in an hour and 51 minutes as he served 10 aces and won 82 per cent of his first serve points.

Rublev now faces Frenchman Arthur Fils who defeated Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler in a flat two hours, 7-5 7-5. In the other two results, Spanish counter puncher Roberto Bautista Agut defeated fourth seed Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets, 7-5 6-3, while Austrian Sebastian Ofner had the biggst challenge of the day, needing two hours and 47 minutes to out-serve fellow power player Jan-Lennard Struff in a 6-7 7-6 7-6 triple tiebreak match.

The other two quarter finals which will take place are American third seed Frances Tiafoe up against giant-killing Chinese wildcard teenager Juncheng Shang, as well as Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori taking on Russian Pavel Kotov.

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