Madrid, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Two-time defending and four-time overall champion Rafael Nadal was an easy third-round winner Thursday at the clay-court Madrid Open.
The third-seeded former world No. 1 Spanish hero blew past Italian Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-2 in this Masters 1000 event at the Magic Box.
Nadal was particularly happy with his serve against Bolelli.
"A serve here at altitude (Madrid is 1,800 feet above sea level) is very important, it cuts the options available to the return, limiting the possibility of someone breaking you," Nadal said. "If your rival serves well, they can move you out of place. My serve has worked well and it gave me options."
The nine-time French Open king captured a second straight Madrid title last year by beating Japan's Kei Nishikori in the final.
Up next for the record 27-time Masters champ Nadal will be 10th-seeded Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov, who upended eighth-seeded Swiss slugger Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3 on Day 5.
Meanwhile, a fourth-seeded Nishikori humbled 14th-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 6-3. The 2014 U.S. Open runner-up from Japan will tangle with Spain's David Ferrer on Friday.
Also on Thursday, sixth-seeded 2012 Madrid runner-up Tomas Berdych tackled 12th-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 6-2, a seventh-seeded Ferrer overcame countryman Fernando Verdasco 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 and 16th- seeded American John Isner held off Aussie young gun Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4. Kyrgios stunned top-seeded Roger Federer in a three-tiebreak affair here on Wednesday.
The Czech Berdych will battle Isner on Friday.