Rafael Nadal surged into the semi finals of the ATP 500 Barcelona Open with a routine straight sets victory over Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie.
The Spaniard, who is targeting a record-extending 12th title at the event, looked back to his red-dirt best as he comprehensively took care of the world number 58 with a 6-1 6-4 success.
Nadal’s lack of match action since the Australian Open saw him surprisingly beaten by Andrey Rublev in Monte-Carlo and he had to fight hard to claim three-set wins over qualifier Ilya Ivashka and Kei Nishikori coming into this last eight encounter in his homeland. It was the first time Nadal has ever been pushed to back-to-back three-set matches in Catalonia leading some to question his form heading towards his favourite Grand Slam tournament in Paris.
'Image not the best' - Nadal criticises Djokovic for 'strange' racket smash tantrum
Nadal salutes 'important victory' over Kei Nishikori
However, Norrie never looked like upsetting the 13-time Roland Garros champion as Nadal sauntered to a first-set breadstick before edging a much more competitive second set.
Norrie actually broke back in the eighth game of Set 2 after Nadal had stolen an early march, but the top seed immediately responded with a break to love before serving out the contest.
Nadal will now meet Pablo Carreno Busta or Diego Schwartzman in the last four while the in-form Stefanos Tsitsipas will lock horns with Jannik Sinner in the other semi-final.
ATP Washington, DC
Djokovic can still complete the Grand Slam, says Nadal
Murray, Djokovic in, Williams, Federer out - who's playing tennis in Tokyo?