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

1/3/2008 - Tennis

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).

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,

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.