Second-seeded Rafael Nadal continued his dominance in Barcelona on Friday when he ousted No. 13 Benoit Paire to advance to the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open.
Rafa took Paire down in straight sets (7-6 , 6-2) despite the French player breaking Nadal's first service game (h/t ESPN). In the process, he extended his gaudy winning streak in Barcelona.
Rafael Nadal Fans @RafaelNadalFC
7-time former champion Rafael #Nadal extended his Barcelona winning streak to 36 matches by beating Benoit #Paire 7-6, 6-2 in the 3rd round.4/26/2013, 10:22:14 AM
The match was originally scheduled for Thursday, but when the weather didn't cooperate and the rain started to fall, the match was postponed until Friday morning.
Nadal is now slated to face either Japan's Kei Nishikori or Spaniard Albert Ramos (according to the ATP bracket) and looks poised to win his third consecutive Barcelona title. Nadal put together a dominant streak from 2005 to 2009 when he won the Barcelona Open five consecutive times.
With No. 1 seed David Ferrer getting upset by Dmitry Tursunov in his first match of the tournament, you have to think Nadal is now the ultimate favorite to win it all. Boasting seven Barcelona Open titles, Nadal is more than familiar with the court and knows what it takes to win here.
If Nadal is able to claim the title in 2013, it will be one of his most rewarding victories, as his fitness level still isn't where it needs to be after his long layoff.
"I needed a little bit more. I needed more physical performance. I needed more matches to play with this intensity all the time. I need to be completely focused in every moment."
Rafa certainly got "a little bit more" against Paire on Friday. While it definitely wasn't vintage Nadal, he showed the mental fortitude to power through the match.
Given his past success and experience in Barcelona, consider Nadal your favorite to earn his eighth Barcelona Open title.
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