Tennis: Rafael Nadal gets closer to World Number 1 spot


Rafael Nadal took another step towards regaining the world number one ranking after securing a difficult win over Philipp Kohlschreiber at the China Open. The Spaniard won 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to set up a quarter-final match against Italy's Fabio Fognini. If Nadal reaches the final he will replace Novak Djokovic as world number one.

Nadal has also faced Kohlschreiber on his way to victory at the US Open last month and he was taken to four sets in New York. The German player put the Spaniard to a tough test once again in Beijing as Nadal faced three break points in the second set before clinching in in the tie-break.

"Today the serve, in my opinion, helped in the important moments," said Nadal. "But it's true that his level of tennis I think was just brilliant tonight. I won because I played a great match. If not, I would not be here with a victory. He played great. I didn't serve bad, but his return was amazing. When you have a player in front of you that has decided to play completely aggressive, and the balls are going with the right directions, it's very difficult to stop." Fognini had an easy win over Lleyton Hewitt, 6-0 6-2, while eighth seed John Isner beat Argentina's Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2 6-7 (3-7) 6-4.

Rafael Nadal will face Fabio Fognini on Friday, here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Rafael Nadal win - 1/25
Fabio Fognini win - 12/1

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