ATP Barcelona Open 2021: “I played much better than yesterday,” Rafael Nadal after his victory over Kei Nishikori

Rafael Nadal defeated his old-foe, Kei Nishikori in the third round of the Barcelona Open 2021, and will face Cameron Norrie in the quarterfinals.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal continued his quest for a 12th title in Barcelona, after he overcame Kei Nishikori in another three set battle in the third round. The Spaniard reached his 14th quarterfinals in Barcelona, and will now face Cameron Norrie on Friday.

Rafael Nadal started off the game on the front foot, winning the first set by inflicting a bagel on Kei Nishikori. However, the two time champion in Barcelona came storming back into the match, taking the second set, 6-2. The top seed held his composure in the last set, winning it 6-2 to progress further into the tournament.

Kei [Nishikori] is an amazing player,” Nadal said in his post-match interview. “So, it’s an important victory for me. He played great I think after that first set and I started playing very well. But, it’s true that he [made] things a little bit easier at the beginning,” he added.

It was a tough match: Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal stated that he played a tough match against Kei Nishikori, but managed to find a way through. The Spaniard has now played two three set matches this week. He defeated the Belarusian, Ilya Ivashka in the second round on Wednesday, after coming back from a set down.

However, Rafael Nadal believes he played a much better match against Nishikori and he can take much more positives from this victory.

Later he increased a lot the level [of his play],” Nadal went on to add. “So it was very tough. But I found a way to be through. I think I played much better than yesterday. That’s a very important thing for me, and the level of positive energy has been higher. So, [I’m] very satisfied,” he continued.

Rafael Nadal will hope to lift his first title of the season later this week. He suffered a shocking quarterfinal exit last week at the Monte Carlo Masters, after he was defeated by Andrey Rublev in three sets.

Also Read: ATP Barcelona Open 2021: Rafael Nadal vs Cameron Norrie – Preview, Head to Head and Prediction