Rafael Nadal eased into the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open with a straight-sets victory over Alexei Popyrin.
Nadal, who is seeking a sixth title in the Spanish capital, comfortably overcame the 21-year-old Australian 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 19 minutes.
The Spaniard will now meet fifth seed Alexander Zverev for a place in the semi-finals after the German defeated Great Britain's Dan Evans 6-3 7-6 (3).
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Nadal will be bidding to claim a 14th French Open title in Paris when Roland-Garros commences at the end of this month and he very much remains the man to beat on clay after claiming a record-extending 12th Barcelona crown recently.
Nadal made short work of his teenage compatriot, Carlos Alcaraz, in round two on Wednesday but he didn’t have it all his own way in the initial stages of this match as Popyrin roared out of the traps by holding to love before clocking up three break points on the world number two’s serve.
Highlights: Nadal beats Popyrin to reach Madrid quarters
Nadal rallied under the intense early pressure to hold and then break twice to snare a stranglehold on the proceedings.
World number 76 Popyrin pegged one break back but Nadal kept his cool to break again and take the opener in 43 minutes.
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Nadal broke to love early in the second set as he reeled off five games in a row and eased through the gears to serve out victory on his second match point to book his spot in the last eight in Madrid for the 15th time and for the 94th occasion on clay.
Elsewhere, John Isner reached the quarter-finals as he beat world No 7 Andrey Rublev without earning a single break-point chance.
The American won 7-6(4) 3-6 7-6(4) and will next face Dominic Thiem.
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