Top-ranked Rafael Nadal advances to semifinals at China Open

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal moved into the semifinals of the China Open by beating sixth-seeded John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (0) on Friday.

The French Open and U.S. Open champion has won five titles this season and is closing in on the year-end No. 1 ranking.

“In general terms, I think I played with not many mistakes,” Nadal said. “I don’t remember a lot of mistakes. I went to the net very often. I think I did the things that I want to do, and I did it well, so very happy.”

Nadal saved all three break points he faced against Isner. He will next play third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2.

Dimitrov spent time practicing with Nadal in Mallorca ahead of the hard-court season. The two also spent time fishing.

“We went out with the boat,” Nadal said. “We catch a few ones (fish), but not very big. But we had some good dinner.”

Nick Kyrgios also advanced. The eighth-seeded Australian won when opponent Steve Darcis retired from the match with a neck strain while trailing 6-0, 3-0.

Kyrgios will next face either second-seeded Alexander Zverev or Andrey Rublev.

Earlier, second-seeded Simona Halep reached the semifinals by beating Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1.

The Romanian could take over the top ranking from Garbine Muguruza. She needs to reach the final and not lose to third-seeded Elena Svitolina.

Halep will next face either ninth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko or Sorana Cirstea.

Petra Kvitova advanced by beating Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-4. The 12th-seeded Kvitova will next face either Svitolina or Caroline Garcia in the semifinals.

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