Nadal disposes of plucky Farah
Colombian qualifier Robert Farah put up a fight but was inevitably beaten by top seed Rafael Nadal in the third round of ATP Barcelona.
The world number 246 caused his legendary opponent problems in spells but ultimately fell short in losing 6-2 6-3.
It was Nadal’s 31st straight win at the Catalonian tournament as he seeks a seventh crown.
On paper it looked a giant mis-match, with University of Southern California student Farah only securing his first two career wins on the ATP Tour this week against lucky loser Arnau Brugues and Pablo Andujar.
And the first game did little to dispel predictions of a one-sided contest, with Nadal racing to a love game to break.
Nadal was equally perfect at the start of the second game, but Farah dug in to force him into an error and take his first point in the match.
Nadal held that game with ease but Farah got to him in the one following: three errors helped him secure a heartening hold to make it 2-1 while he wowed the crowd by flashing a winner up the line from down low on the run.
He then challenged the Nadal serve but saw a key point get away from him as both players pounded the ground behind their respective baselines.
Farah was impressive again in coming from two break points down to hold for 3-2 before once more causing difficulties on Nadal’s serve. However he was again left in awe of the man on the other side of the net as the Mallorcan retrieved a potential winner with a backhand on the turn to pass him.
The resistance faltered when Nadal raced to three break points and converted the first of them for 5-2 with a lovely winner from out wide, also dispatching a sublime backhand cross-court in the game. He made similarly short work of the following hold to close out the set.
The rut continued as Nadal easily broke at the start of the second set but Farah immediately returned the favour, edging a hard-fought game to break back. The final point, a netcord in his favour, was no less than he deserved.
The Colombian moved ahead in the set with some uncompromising attacking; and as Nadal’s level dipped, it then went with serve until 3-3, the world number two levelling with a superb cross-court forehand while defending.
That did not exactly give him the impetus to break Farah in the next game, as the latter threw away a hold with a mis-timed forehand, but Nadal won it nonetheless thanks to relentless defensive work on break point – lobbing him with the point seemingly lost to force an error.
Nadal held for 5-3 then broke again to seal victory and a place opposite Janko Tipsarevic, who earlier beat Frederico Gil 6-2 6-2, in the quarter-finals.
The final point was a double fault; one of only two he conceded in the match, it was an unfitting end to a plucky display from 24-year-old Farah, the new kid on the ATP block.
Japan's Kei Nishikori will face Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-finals after beating Spaniard Albert Ramos 7-6(2) 6-3, with Verdasco defeating South Africa's Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-4 in the day's final match.