Barcelona, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal eased into the quarterfinals at the $2.55 million Barcelona Open tennis event.
The world No. 1 and reigning three-time titlist recorded his 41st consecutive match win at this tournament by cruising past Croat Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-3 on the red clay at Royal Barcelona Tennis Club.
The reigning French and U.S. Open champion Nadal beat Nicolas Almagro in last year's third straight all-Spanish Barcelona finale and the two compatriots will clash again here in Friday's quarterfinals.
A sixth-seeded Almagro erased 11th-seeded fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-3 on Day 4. The 2010 Barcelona champion Verdasco was a clay court titlist in Houston two weeks ago, when he beat Almagro in a final in Texas.
In other action involving top-five seeds, No. 4 Japanese star Kei Nishikori handled Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev 6-0, 6-4 and No. 12 Croat Marin Cilic outlasted No. 5 Spaniard Tommy Robredo 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5) in 2 hours, 46 minutes.
In other play involving seeds, No. 9 Latvian Ernests Gulbis doused Spaniard Albert Montanes 7-5, 6-1 and No. 10 German Philipp Kohlschreiber dismissed Austrian left-hander Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 6-3.
Additionally, Colombian Santiago Giraldo overcame Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 and Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili erased Spanish wild card Inigo Cervantes 6-4, 6-2. The 55th-ranked Gabashvili stunned four-time Barcelona runner-up David Ferrer on Wednesday.
Friday's other quarterfinals will pit Nishikori against Cilic, Gulbis versus Gabashvili and Kohlschreiber against Giraldo.
This week's winner will earn $580,000.