Nadal ousts Monfils; Ferrer enters semis

The Spaniard is chasing a sixth title in seven years in the Catalan capital and after a rain-delayed start, he raced into a first-set lead with his brutal forehands helping secure two breaks of serve.

Nadal, whose electric yellow shirt contrasted sharply with the dull conditions, broke the seventh seed again early in the second, helped by a wonderful angled drop shot as the two exchanged blows at the net.

“To win 6-2, 6-2 is a very positive result and was much better than I expected. I’m very pleased,” Nadal told Spanish television.

“I won in Monte Carlo last week and now to be in the semifinals in Barcelona is super positive, I couldn’t have started the clay season any better. Now I have to keep on working.”

In other quarterfinal matches, eighth-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain scored a 6-3, 6-3 win over compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero while Croatia’s Ivan Dodig fought a tougher battle but won 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 against Feliciano Lopez.

Fourth seed David Ferrer blew past sixth seed Juergen Melzer of Austria 6-3, 6-3 in the other quarterfinal.

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