Nadal reaches quarters, Barty makes final in Madrid

Rafael Nadal swept into the Madrid Open quarter-finals yesterday with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Alexei Popyrin, while Ashleigh Barty booked her spot in the women's final by ending the run of wildcard Paula Badosa.

Nadal, a five-time champion in the Spanish capital, saved five of six break-points in a challenging opening set as he faced the 76th-ranked Popyrin for the first time.

A lone break of the Australian's serve in the second was enough for the 20-time Grand Slam winner to seal the match and set up a showdown with fifth seed Alexander Zverev or Britain's Dan Evans.

Evans upset Novak Djokovic earlier this month at Monte Carlo, where Nadal lost in the quarters to Andrey Rublev. The Spaniard recovered from that setback to win his first title of the year in Barcelona last week.

Dominic Thiem, the Madrid runner-up in 2017 and 2018, also reached the last eight after beating Alex de Minaur 7-6 (9/7), 6-4.

US Open champion Thiem will meet John Isner in the next round.

Barty, who avenged last month's loss to Badosa with a 6-4, 6-3 win, will play Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in tomorrow's final. - AFP