BEIJING (AP) – Rafael Nadal is back in form on the tennis court – and in his sharp-tongued critiques of the ATP tour.
The second-seeded Spaniard reached his first quarterfinal since capturing his record ninth French Open title in June with a 6-3, 6-4 win over German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk at the China Open on Thursday, then blasted the choice of tennis balls at the tournament.
The 14-time major winner has complained previously about the ball in question – manufactured by Head – but he also criticised the decision to switch ball manufacturers from tournament to tournament, saying it could result in injuries.
Nadal faces another qualifier in the quarterfinals, Martin Klizan, who advanced when seventh-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia retired with a shoulder injury while trailing 6-2, 3-0.
In the women’s draw, Simona Halep of Romania also withdrew from the tournament with a left hip injury immediately after winning a back-and-forth match against Andrea Petkovic of Germany 7-6 (4), 5-7, 7-6 (1).
The second-seeded Halep took a medical timeout for treatment on her hip after the first set, but returned to complete the match, which featured 17 breaks of serve and 105 combined unforced errors (61 from the Romanian).