Rafael Nadal’s quest of regaining old prominence went one notch up with his second round victory over Czech Republic’s Jiri Vesely on Thursday. The big man, however, toiled for it and now faces Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas for a place in the semifinals. In Atlanta, two-time champion John Isner defeated Radek Stepanek in two tiebreaks and moved one step ahead to retain his title. But Isner’s compatriot Jack Sock was upset by Ukrainian qualifier Denis Kudla. Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick didn’t have a game on Thursday and they wait for their next match with USA’s Eric Butorac and New Zealand’s Artem Sitak. At the Swiss Open in Gstaad, all top eight seeds entered the quarterfinals to bring unlimited joy for tournament organizers. It is the first time in six years on the ATP circuit that the first eight seeds have gotten into the QFs. The easiest victory was scored by Belgium’s top seeded David Goffin, who crushed Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos in 45 minutes.


Rafael Nadal Advances at HamburgAt the Hamburg Open, Rafael Nadal played his second round match against Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic. Nadal has returned to Hamburg 7 years after he won the title in 2008 and his world ranking has dropped to no.10. But Nadal thinks he still has plenty of tennis left in him. Against Vesely on Thursday, the Spaniard took the first set 6-4 before running into trouble in the second. He dropped his serve for 4-4 in the second set. In the ninth game, Nadal broke back and at 5-4, prepared to serve for the match. At match point, however, Nadal committed a double fault and lost his service with another double fault. In the tiebreak, Vesely couldn’t make use of the opportunity of forcing the decider as Nadal cruised through with a 6-4, 7-6 victory. Nadal will take on Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas for a place in the semifinals. In his second round match, Cuevas had to fight with his Polish opponent Jerzy Janowicz, before beating him 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Italian Andreas Seppi also entered the round-of-eight by defeating Germany’s Florian Mayer 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Seppi’s quarterfinal opponent is compatriot Simone Bolelli, who outlasted Spanish qualifier Jaume Munar 6-1, 6-7, 6-4.


In Atlanta, top seeded defending champion USA’s John Isner defeated Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek 7-6, 7-6 but Isner’s compatriots Jack Sock and Steve Johnson were not so lucky. Sock lost to Ukrainian qualifier Denis Kudla 6-7, 3-6 while Johnson was defeated by Ricardis Berankis of Lithuania 4-6, 2-6. No.8 Benjamin Becker of Germany also lost his second round match to Israel’s Dudi Sela 5-7, 3-6. While farewell guy Mardy Fish and his partner Roddick didn’t have any match on Thursday, top-seeded doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Johnson and Treat Huey 7-6, 7-6 to reach the semifinals. Fish/Roddick will play on Friday against Eric Butorac of USA and Artem Sitak of New Zealand.


In the Swiss Open at Gstaad, all top-eight seeded players entered the quarterfinals. In ATP’s clay-court tournament history, this has happened for the first time in 6 years. No.6 seed Joao Sousa of Portugal saved three match points to defeat Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-7, 6-3, 7-6; no.1 seed David Goffin of Belgium beat Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 6-1, 6-1; third-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem beat another Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-4 and no.7 seed Pablo Carreno of Spain defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-6, 6-4.