Brisbane | Nadal and Dimitrov on track to meet in SF

Rafa Nadal produced a performance which belies his lack of play as he swept aside Australia’s Jason Kubler in a second round match between two wildcard entries at the Brisbane international warm-up event for the opening grand slam of the new season.

The Spaniard, who made his comeback from nearly a week’s absence for hip surgery, an injury he picked up at last year’s Australian Open, earlier this week with a solid performance, upped his game in his second match by crushing Kubler 6-1 6-2 to reach the quarter finals.

“Every day is an adventure,” Nadal said following his more than comfortable win. “I take every day like an opportunity, and tomorrow is another one.”

The two-time grand slam champion is well aware that he will still need to work on his game if he is to make an impression at this year’s Australian Open which starts on January 14.

“It’s important to survive these kind of moments because you practice the adversity,” he said. “Something I need to practice again because (it’s) been a while, a long time, without being in that position.”

And so far, he hasn’t really been tested though Dominic Thiem stretched him during the first set of their first-round clash last Tuesday but the likes of Grigor Dimitrov, the second seed, should provide him that sort of test when and if they make the semis. Similarly, should he get past the Bulgarian, the tournament favourite Holger Rune could be waiting in the final.

On this occasion he lost only one point in his first three service games — a double-fault on the second point of the match and was also able to dig himself out of a hole when he needed it at 5-1 while serving for the set when he faced and saved, three break points.

The only blip for Nadal was a warning for a time violation for taking too long in a locker-room break between sets which he shrugged off and promised to improve on his changing speed!

He also declared his hip was “not bothering me at all” and that he’s not having any issues with his long-term foot problem.

He’ll now play another Australian, Jordan Thompson, in the quarterfinals on Friday who received a walkover from the fourth-seeded Ugo Humbert of France who withdrew from their second-round match citing an illness.

Grigor Dimitrov matches Rafa Nadal's performance

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Earlier in the day Dimitrov also showed some excellent form by dismissing Germany’s Daniel Altmeier by a similar 6-1 6-2 scoreline in 67-minutes.

In the last eight he will face Australian Rinky Hijikata who battled past Czech qualifier, Tomas Macahc 5-7 6-2 7-6.

“It was a nice match. I was moving very well on the court at the beginning and I was aggressive when I had to be,” Dimitrov, a former Brisbane champion, said following his win. “This is one of my favourite courts and I thank the crowd who stayed to watch me.”



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