Spain’s Rafael Nadal advanced to the quarterfinals of the Rio Open on Thursday with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta.
The 14-time Grand Slam winner struggled to assert himself early before breaking Carreno Busta in the 12th game to take the first set.
The world No. 3 then broke Carreno Busta’s serve in the eighth game of the second set before serving out the match.
Nadal paid tribute to his 209th-ranked countryman in the stifling heat.
“Tough conditions, a difficult, young opponent and I’m just content to be in the quarterfinals,” Nadal said. “For me every victory is important and even more so on clay.”
Nadal will Friday meet 52nd-ranked Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay for a place in the semifinals.
Cuevas earlier defeated Albert Montanes of Spain 6-2, 6-2 while Argentine Federico Delbonis beat Martin Klizan of Slovakia 6-2, 6-1.
In the women’s draw, Slovakia’s Anna Schmiedlova progressed to the last eight with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Paula Ormaechea of Argentina.