Rafael Nadal is through to the quarter-finals of the China Open after defeating Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday in Beijing. The Spaniard is bidding to win his second China Open title, following victory on his debut in 2005 (d. Coria). He also finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the 2013 and 2015 finals.
Nadal is also looking to boost his lead over Roger Federer in the battle to finish year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Thursday’s win hands him another 45 points, which extends his lead over his Swiss rival to 1,950 points in the year-to-date standings. Federer returns to action at next week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters, where 1,000 points are awarded to the winner.
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Nadal defeated Khachanov for the second time this year (also Wimbledon R3) as he saved the six break points he faced. The left-hander, in turn, broke Khachanov three times to prevail in 89 minutes. Nadal leads the ATP World Tour with 58 match wins in 2017 and is chasing his sixth tour-level crown in what has been an outstanding season, featuring two major titles at Roland Garros and the US Open and two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns in Monte-Carlo and Madrid.
Nadal goes on to face sixth seed John Isner, who cruised past Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-3 in under an hour. The American struck eight aces and converted all four of his break points to earn the quarter-final clash with Nadal, whom he will be looking to beat for the first time in seven attempts.
Nadal had survived two match points in his opening clash against Frenchman Lucas Pouille, and saved all six of the break points he faced against Khachanov. His 21-year-old opponent served seven double faults as Nadal registered his 58th victory of the year.