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The red clay of Rome witnessed tennis at its very best on Thursday as a lot of exciting round of 16 matches were played out at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. While Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic led the way to the quarter-finals, 4th seed Andy Murray made yet another early exit, beaten by an old nemesis in Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
World no.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic was in a world of early trouble, as he struggled to cope with both some gusty conditions and an energized opponent in 14th seeded Argentine Juan Monaco. Some regulation backhand volleys flew long over the baseline and a frustrated Djokovic lost his cool yet again, smashing his racquet to pieces after dropping the first set. But the world no.1 got his act together in the second set, and coasted through eventually to record an interesting 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win. He will face a familiar foe in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who justified his seeding by thumping an in-form Juan Martin Del Potro with relative ease, 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the quarter-finals.
In sharp contrast to Djokovic's match, Rafael Nadal was in no mood to ponder as he steam-rolled past compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-1. The world no.3, who is looking for his 7th Roland Garros crown, seemed to be all set to defend his French Open title later this month as he is looking in great touch on the red clay this season.
In the other encounters, Barcelona Open runner up Spaniard David Ferrer defeated French no.2 Gilles Simon 6-0, 7-6(5) while Madrid runner-up Tomas Berdych downed another Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-6(3), 6-3.
The evening experienced another major upset as British no.1 Andy Murray was ousted by French 16th seed Richard Gasquet in a very close encounter. Murray seemed to be in control during the first set as he won it 7-6, running away with the tie breaker but slowly lost his grip over the match as Gasquet cashed on every opportunity came to his way, winning the next two sets 6-3, 6-2.
But the best match of the evening was undoubtedly the one between Italian Andreas Seppi and Swiss world no. 20 Stanislas Wawrinka. The match lasted for over 3 hours as each of the sets had to be decided on a tiebreak. The first set was won by Wawrinka as he beat Seppi comprehensively in the breaker. But then the crowd came into action as they cheered every point won by the local boy Seppi to charge him up and at last it was the Italian who came out victorious after edging out his opponent in the next two tie-breakers, saving 6 match points along the way.
The final match on Court Centrale will see Roger Federer take on former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero. It has just got underway.
Tomorrow is anticipated to be yet another exciting day as some cracking quarter-final matches will be played on the red clay in Rome. Rafa Nadal, 5-times champion here, will lock horn against Czech 7th seed Tomas Berdych whiel David Ferrer will face the stiff challenge of Frenchman Richard Gasquet for a place in the last 4. Novak Djokovic take on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a rematch of their 2008 Australian Open final, while local boy Seppi could run into Federer.
Third Round Scores:
(1) N. Djokovic def (14) J. Monaco 4-6 6-2 6-3
(2) R. Nadal def M. Granollers 6-1 6-1
(6) D. Ferrer def (11) G. Simon 6-0 7-6(5)
A. Seppi def S. Wawrinka 6-7(1) 7-6(6) 7-6(6)
(16) R. Gasquet def (4) A. Murray 6-7(1) 6-3 6-2
(7) T. Berdych def (12) N. Almagro 7-6(3) 6-3
File Photograph Copyright: Dubai Open
- 18/05/2012 20:57 - Nadal, Ferrer set up yet another clay court clash with Quarterfinal wins
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- 18/05/2012 10:32 - Rome Masters: Tsonga surprises Del Potro, Federer gets past Ferrero