Following an easy opening match on clay this season, world No. 3 Rafael Nadal was handed a difficult match-up in the second round of the Rio Open on Thursday, but eventually got past it to set up a contest against Pablo Cuevas. Their quarter-final match-up on the red clay in the Brazilian city will be their first ever career meeting, and could make for another interesting contest for the fans in attendance.
Follow the match live here: Nadal v Cuevas Live Stream
The top seed worked a little harder to reach the quarter-final round of the tournament, as he defeated Pablo Carreno Busta 7-5, 6-3 to advance. It was the first time the two contested a match, and they entertained the crowd with an enthralling 1 hour and 13 minutes opening set of action. Eventually, Nadal hit 22 winners to close out the match in 2 hours and 2 minutes.
Following a third title win last week at the Brasil Open, Pablo Cuevas continued his fantastic streak of wins as he defeated Spain’s Albert Montanes to reach the quarter-final round in Rio. He defeated his opponent 6-2, 6-2 in 1 hour and 9 minutes.
“Montanes is a great player on this surface; the famous ‘Old Fox’,” said Cuevas, who levelled the FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the Spaniard, 3-3. “He definitely was a difficult opponent. I am confident. I was able to play the same as I’ve been doing for the last days, and I was able to prevail in the match. I am happy.
“If my rival is Nadal, it is going to be the first time I face him,” he said. “I am in a good moment. I will try to enjoy the match and continue to play the same as I been doing and I wish I can continue with the streak.”
This is set to be the first career meeting between Rafael Nadal and Pablo Vuevas, and could make for another entertaining match. However, it is unlikely that the sixth seed will find a way to snatch a set off Nadal, who will only continue to improve as the week goes on.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Straight Sets