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Rafael Nadal called it “almost the perfect” match and it is hard to disagree after he overcame the challenge of big serving John Isner to make the Rome quarter-finals.
The statistics alone confirm the quality of the performance. The Spaniard won 90 per cent of his first serve points alone and made just three unforced errors in the match, all of which were double faults.
It is a big week for Nadal as he looks to move up from number seven in the rankings ahead of the French Open which starts next weekend and he will now take on Stanislas Wawrinka who beat Dominic Thiem 76(3) 64.
“I’m more than happy, I played a fantastic match,” said Nadal. “It was against a very tough opponent and I have to say it was almost a perfect match.
“My serve was solid all match even when he was pushing me a lot on the return, I resisted well on the baseline. I played with not many mistake, I tried to go for points when I had the chance. I recovered tough balls, it was very good for my confidence.”
But despite this performance Nadal insists he does not deserve to be favourite going into Roland Garros.
“I’m sure this year people think in a different way,” he said. “This year I didn’t play consistent enough to be considered main favourite for Roland garros. But anyway we are in the quarter-finals at Rome and that’s the most important thing right now, then we can think about Roland Garros.”
Elsewhere David Ferrer won the all-Spanish tie with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 61 63 and will now play David Goffin who benefitted from the withdrawal of Andy Murray.