Nadal to face Garcia-Lopez; rising Croatian Cilic to play Haase

Updated: January 4, 2008, 1:41 AM ET
Associated Press

CHENNAI, India -- Top-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal brushed aside American qualifier Rajeev Ram 6-4, 6-1 to gain the Chennai Open quarterfinals Thursday. Nadal will next play fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who rallied to upset seventh-seeded Austrian Werner Eschauer 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3).

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Marin Cilic of Croatia, the youngest player ranked among the ATP Tour's top 100 last year, also advanced by beating fifth-seeded Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-2, 6-4.

Cilic's opponent in Friday's quarterfinal will be Robin Haase of the Netherlands, who defeated Croatian qualifier Lovro Zovko 6-1, 7-5.

Nadal, the world's second-ranked player, expected a difficult quarterfinal against the 90th-ranked Garcia-Lopez.

"It'll be a tough contest. Guillermo's coming through a competitive match, so he might be better prepared," he said. "Sometimes it's better to come through tough early rounds."

Garcia-Lopez lost the first set by squandering his service in the 10th game, but clinched the second set in similar fashion by breaking the 66th-ranked Eschauer in the 11th game.

The 71st-ranked Cilic had two breaks in each set against Mahut, the 45th-ranked player who managed a break at the start of the second set before Cilic bounced back to seize the advantage.

The 19-year-old Cilic, a former junior French Open champion, said his goal for 2008 was to break into the top 40.

"In 2007, I was trying to get into the top 100 the whole year and finally managed to do so. Now, I'm started well in the first week," said Cilic.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press