China Open: Rafael Nadal beats Karen Khachanov to reach quarter-finals

Watch as Rafael Nadal greets the smiling ball kids of the 2017 China Open in Beijing. Video China Open

Watch as Rafael Nadal greets the smiling ball kids of the 2017 China Open in Beijing. Video China Open

Nadal is playing his first official event since winning his 16th major title at the U.S.

Petra Kvitová is also through to the semi-finals after overcoming fellow Czech Barbora Strýcová 6-3, 6-4.

Handed a hard draw, the Spaniard was almost eliminated in the first round at the hands of Frenchman Lucas Pouille, saving two match points in a 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5 win.

Rafael Nadal said he has braced himself for the "huge" serve of John Isner, after the world No. 1 bulldozed his way into the China Open quarter-finals yesterday.

Dimitrov and Nadal have met on nine previous occasions - of which the Spaniard has won eight - but the Bulgarian's only victory over the world number one came in the Beijing quarter-finals a year ago.

The prior history between the two is heavily slanted in Nadal's direction.

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Next for Svitolina is an awkward-looking quarter-final against in-form French player Caroline Garcia, who won the title in Wuhan last week and is at her highest career ranking of 15th as a result.

Nadal will play Grigor Dimitrov in the semis after the Bulgarian beat Roberto Bautista Agut earlier in the day. He's playing well. He had a good victory today. I went to the net very often. "I hope to be ready for it". I saw him today. "I'm not going to lie".

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.

I'm not saying all of them, but before I felt like there were many others like that.

"There was just always something happening".

A blockbuster second-round meeting with wildcard and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro followed as the match-up definitely lived up to the hype it received, with Dimitrov prevailing in the high-quality encounter after exactly two hours of play. Simple as that. I'm proud.

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