Nadal overcomes Ferrer and rain in Spain
Rafael Nadal got the better of retiring compatriot David Ferrer 6-3 6-3 to move into the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open on Thursday.
An all-Spanish affair was evenly matched for the most part, but Nadal was able to edge in front midway through the first set and maintained his position from there through rain delays.
Ferrer will retire following next month's Madrid Open and may not play Nadal again, yet at least went out with his head held high, hearing his name chanted by the crowd at the end of a gutsy display.
This was an improved showing from Nadal, meanwhile, after seeing his performance levels waver drastically at the Monte Carlo Masters last week, although he is still not quite back at his imperious clay-court best.
On a damp Pista Rafa Nadal, the 11-time Barcelona champion was put under pressure in each of his first two service games before turning the tide and taking control of the opener.
Ferrer was broken at the end of an extended sixth game as he sent a backhand narrowly wide and that proved to be enough for Nadal to take the set following a stoppage for the weather.
A see-saw second saw Ferrer respond swiftly to an early break, only to slip behind again when he was forced into the net by the world number two.
Rain briefly disrupted play again but there was no stopping Nadal, who sealed victory with another break as Ferrer finally gave in to intense pressure.