Nadal ousts Khachanov

Nadal ousts Khachanov

Rafael Nadal said he was braced for the “huge” serve of John Isner after Spain’s world number one bulldozed his way into the China Open quarterfinals on Thursday.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion Nadal saw off the young Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 to set up a last-eight clash with Isner in Beijing.

Isner was impressive in blasting his way past Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-3.

In the women’s draw, fourth seed Karolina Pliskova became the latest high-profile casualty on Beijing’s outdoor hard courts, going out in the third round to Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 7-5. Cirstea follows fellow Romanian Simona Halep into the quarterfinals after the second seed sent Maria Sharapova packing on Wednesday.

Cirstea will play Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko after China’s top player Peng Shuai retired with a knee injury at 3-0 down in the first set.

World number one Garbine Muguruza and reigning champion Agnieszka Radwanska are both out, leaving world number two Halep as the favourite in the Chinese capital.

Also into the quarters are Caroline Garcia, who defeated French compatriot Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-1, and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.

Raonic retires

Canadian Milos Raonic’s injury woes continued on Thursday as he was forced to retire from his second-round match against local favourite Yuichi Sugita at the Japan Open in Tokyo.

The highest-ranked player in the bottom half of the draw is Belgium’s David Goffin, who survivd a scare against Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden, losing the first set before coming through 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/1).

The Belgian will meet Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinal after he eased through his encounter with Taipei’s Lu Yen-hsun 6-0, 7-6.

American Steve Johnson followed up his surprise win over Austrian wunderkind Dominic Thiem with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Ukraine’s Aleksandr Dolgopolov.

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