TOKYO - Top-seeded Rafael Nadal advanced to the quarter-finals of the Japan Open with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Canada's Milos Raonic on Thursday.
The No. 2-ranked Nadal will take on unseeded Santiago Giraldo of Colombia in the final eight. Giraldo beat Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 6-4, 7-6 (4).
"I was happy with almost everything today," Nadal said. "I was focused with my serves without mistakes. I lost very few points on my serve in the last set."
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., qualified and reached the second round here last year when he also lost to Nadal —6-4, 6-4.
It was just Raonic's second ATP World Tour match since injuring his hip in a fall June 22 at Wimbledon. Raonic, who lost a Davis Cup singles match in Israel last month, had surgery on the hip on July 5.
In other matches, second-seeded Andy Murray overwhelmed Alex Bogomolov Jr. of the United States 6-1, 6-2 in less than an hour, and third-seeded David Ferrer of Spain advanced with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden.
Trailing 6-5 and serving at 30-30 in the 12th game of the first set, Raonic double-faulted to hand Nadal a set point and then hit a forehand long to give the Spaniard the set.
In the second set, Nadal broke the big-serving Raonic in the sixth game to go up 4-2, then stayed on serve and closed out the contest in 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Nadal, the defending champion, got in 77 per cent of his first serves in the victory and Raonic was not able to gain a single break point against the 10-time Grand Slam champion.
Raonic's powerful forehand was impressive, but he also committed several crucial unforced errors in the loss.
"The top players do a few things better than the others," Nadal said. "The matches are decided by very few points. It is on these points where the top players play better."
Murray lost to Bogomolov Jr. earlier this year but once he broke serve in the first game, the No. 4-ranked Briton was never troubled again. Murray wants to finish the year on a high by overtaking Roger Federer for the No. 3 ranking.
"It was good," Murray said. "My goal is to finish world No. 3 and pick up some titles before the end of the year."
Murray, who won in Bangkok last week, will face David Nalbandian in the quarter-finals, after the Argentine beat Ivan Dodig of Croatia 7-6 (2), 6-2.
"I've played Andy a lot in the past," Nalbandian said. "It will be tough but I have to believe in my game."