Nadal, Pliskova start Cincinnati doubleheader with wins

MASON, Ohio (AP) — Rafael Nadal and Karolina Pliskova got a doubleheader day started with victories at the Western & Southern Open on Friday. The tournament’s top seeds then had only a few hours to eat, rest and prepare for quarterfinals matches.

Nadal spent only an hour and 37 minutes on court while beating fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6 (1), 6-2 in a match that never got started Thursday night because of rain. He was scheduled back on court five hours later to face Nick Kyrgios.

“And now another very, very difficult match,” Nadal said as he left the court.

Nadal took time to mention the attack in Barcelona the previous day that left 13 people dead, which was weighing on his mind during the busy day.

“Everyone is very, very sad,” Nadal said. “I don’t have words to say. … All my support to Barcelona, and especially to the people that are suffering a lot, for all the families of the victims.”

Kyrgios overcame a sloppy first set to reach his first Cincinnati quarterfinal with a 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3 win over Ivo Karlovic.

In the women’s bracket, defending champion Pliskova beat qualifier Camila Giorgi 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 in the completion of a suspended match. Pliskova was up 3-0 in the first set when rain moved in Thursday night, forcing her to sit for hours and wait. She was scheduled to face a rested Caroline Wozniacki later on Friday.

“Tough conditions from yesterday with the rain delay and everything,” Pliskova sad. “So, happy I made it.”

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza had another long match as she reached the quarterfinals, beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 5-7, 7-5. The match went 2 hours, 45 minutes — her longest of the tournament.

“I think it was one of the best matches of the year,” Muguruza said. “I think we both played very well, especially in the third set. I know I won, but I’m sure she feels like it was a great match as well, because it was a tough battle and very hot out there.”

Muguruza’s win came less than 24 hours after she spent 2 hours, 18 minutes on the court and fought off three match points to beat Madison Keys in the round of 16.

Muguruza has reached the semifinals of two of the three tournaments she’s entered since winning Wimbledon.

“You know, I’m happy with the way I’m playing and the way I’m going through these tough matches because, you know, I’ve got to dig in and somehow win them,” she said. “For sure, even if I didn’t win a tournament, I’m very happy that I’m getting deep into the tournament.”

Wild-card Sloane Stephens also prevailed in a postponed march, defeating Ekaterina Makarova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Julia Goerges, who upset fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina, 7-5, 6-4.

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