Improving Nadal flies past Van de Zandschulp into quarters

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Second seed Rafael Nadal took another step forward in his bid for a rare calendar-year Grand Slam on Monday by booking his spot in the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a commanding 6-4 6-2 7-6(6) win against Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp.

The All England Club, where the Spaniard has won two of his 22 majors, has been the least rewarding place for Nadal, but he arrived this year having won the Australian and French Open titles back-to-back for the first time in his career.

A third Wimbledon title and first since 2010 on the manicured lawns and a U.S. Open triumph would see the Mallorcan claim the calendar slam – a feat last achieved in 1969 by Australian great Rod Laver.

He will face American 11th seed Taylor Fritz for a place in Friday’s semi-finals.

“To be in the quarter-finals here at Wimbledon after three years without playing here, it’s amazing for me,” said Nadal. “So very, very happy.

“It has been a good match in general terms against a difficult player. I think a very good player.”

Nadal played and won at Roland Garros with pain-killing injections prior to each match and only confirmed his participation at the All England Club after radio frequency treatment eased pain in his foot.

(Reuters)