Nadal comfortable in last-16 defeat of Tiafoe

Frances Tiafoe battled hard to stay with Rafael Nadal, but he never troubled the five-time Madrid Open champion.

Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open   -  Getty Images

Rafael Nadal cruised into the last eight at the Madrid Open on Thursday with an uneventful 6-3 6-4 defeat of Frances Tiafoe.

Rival Roger Federer and defending champion Alexander Zverev had each been required to dig in to reach the quarter-finals earlier in the day, yet there were no such worries for Nadal.

Tiafoe was far from embarrassed but he never really lay a glove on the clay king, his sole break point opportunity coming and going in a flash.

The five-time winner, yet to drop a set in two matches this week, will face Stan Wawrinka next.

Nadal hit his stride after a steady start and broke to lead at 3-1 when Tiafoe was caught out at the net.

The American worked hard to ensure Nadal could make no further inroads in the opener but that one break was enough to take the set, with little pressure on the favourite's serve.

Tiafoe worked a break-point opening early in the second yet found a resolute Nadal in his path, stylishly reclaiming control.

And the Spaniard led in the very next game as he blasted a forehand across the court to leave Tiafoe stranded and facing a now inevitable exit.

Nadal trailed 30-0 as he served for the match, but quickly moved through the gears to finish Tiafoe off with a pair of storming serves.

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