sport

Nadal through to last eight

Rafael Nadal remained on course for a ninth Barcelona Open title by easing into the quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over Ivan Dodig.

Nadal, top seed and favourite despite his shock exit in the quarter-finals at Monte Carlo last week, defeated fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos over three sets on Wednesday and followed up with a 6-3 6-3 success over Dodig at Real Club de Tenis.

Dodic's fellow Croatian Marin Cilic had better luck against another local entrant, dumping fifth seed Tommy Robredo out with a 7-5 6-7 (3/7) 7-6 (7/5) win, while ninth seed Ernests Gulbis bested Albert Montanes 7-5 6-1.

Last year's beaten finalist Nicolas Almagro emerged victorious from the all-Spanish encounter with Fernando Verdasco, the sixth seed winning both sets 6-3 against the 2010 champion, and Kei Nishikori had no trouble sweeping aside Andrey Golubev 6-0 6-4.

Wild card Inigo Cervantes was knocked out in straight sets by Teymuraz Gabashvili but Santiago Giraldo needed three sets to see off qualifier Dominic Thiem.

Philipp Kohlschreiber also ensured his place in the last eight by defeating Jurgen Melzer 7-5 6-3.