Former Madrid Champions Advance To Quarterfinals

MADRID, May 5, 2016

Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, who have combined to win 12 of the last 13 ATP Masters 1000 titles, headlined third round action at the Mutua Madrid Open on Thursday. All three former Madrid champions won their matches on Manolo Santana.

The world number one from Serbia clinched his fourth victory over Roberto Bautista-Agut in as many meetings with the Spaniard, as well as his 30th of the season. Djokovic didn’t face a break point, converting five of his own chances to seal a 6-2, 6-1 win in 68 minutes.

“The conditions were a bit slower than it was the case yesterday because it was cloudy. You could actually be more aggressive and step in, which I did. I didn’t give him too much time. I think I used the variation of the shots, opening up the court, flat, down the lines, and slices, and you know, also different rotations on the serve. So always trying to mix up the pace, which I think he didn’t like. Very, very pleased with the performance,” Djokovic told afterwards.

The 2011 champion, who returned from a two-year hiatus to beat Borna Coric in his opening match will take on either Milos Raonic next, who beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-4.

“Both of those guys are serving very big. Raonic probably has a slightly better serve, but Tsonga is a player that moves better on clay and plays generally better than Raonic on this surface. That doesn’t mean anything, because Raonic in the last couple of years in Madrid with this altitude has been making some good results. He’s been showing some good tennis,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic made a visit to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu last night, watching the Champions League semi-final between Real and Manchester City.

“I’m sure that Madrid will celebrate in the finals, that’s for sure,” Djokovic laughted.

“I enjoyed the experience very much. I wasn’t particularly supporting any team, just trying to enjoy the football and the atmosphere that was remarkable really. Real Madrid and Man City are some of the biggest clubs in the world, and it was quite amazing to see the intensity and the importance of that match. It was a very, very solid, very tough game and performance from both clubs. I just had a blast. That’s all I can say.”

Second seed Andy Murray extended his Madrid head to head record with Gilles Simon to 4-0. The 28-year-old Brit won 76% of his first service points and broke his opponent’s service three times to gain a 6-4, 6-2 victory in one hour and 39 minutes.

Murray will take on Tomas Berdych next. The eighth seed from the Czech Republic defeated David Ferrer in the first of two top-10 match-ups in the Magic Box on Thursday, winning 7-6, 7-5 in one hour and 55 minutes.

“The first set was very even, and perhaps in the second set I lost the first break easily and then I was always behind him. Perhaps if I had stepped in and been ahead I could have been able to dominate. Tomas was better than me today,” Ferrer had to admit.

Sixth favourite Kei Nishikori dismissed the tournament’s number 10 Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-5. The 26-year-old from Japan won 73% of his first service points and capitalized on four of his nine break point chances to prevail in one hour and 39 minutes.

“It was a really tough match today because I never beat him before. I was really ready for today’s match. I played a good match again today, so happy with my result,” the world number six was pleased.

Nishikori will face Nick Kyrgios in the quarterfinals. The Australian Next Generation star beat Pablo Cuevas 7-6, 4-6, 6-3. Kyrgios fired 14 aces, winning 72% of his first service points to finish the encounter after two hours and four minutes. The 21-year-old became the youngest player to reach the stage of the final eight in Madrid since Juan Martin Del Potro, who was 20 in 2009.

In the night session, Rafael Nadal fought past Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-2.

Nadal had a bit of a slow start against the US-American being 4-1 down but managed to win five games in a row to eventually take the opening set. The Spaniard restored his mojo in the second frame, winning 55% of the total points to close the match after 69 minutes.

Nadal will take on Joao Sousa next. The 27-year-old Portuguese overcame Jack Sock with 6-1, 6-7, 6-2 win in two hours and 14 minutes to advance to his first career Masters 1000 quarterfinal.

Only one seed made it into the semi-finals of the women’s draw. Simona Halep, the tournament’s number six, emerged victorious from the all-Romanian-affair with Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 0-6, 6-1.

“It wasn’t my best day. Anyway, if I won means that I played good tennis. I’m confident it was a good match for me. I take it like a positive one, even if I gave that second set away in an easy way. I was there until the end, and I’m glad that I could control myself until the end,” Halep told.

She awaits the winner of the match between Samantha Stosur and Patricia Maria Tig next.

Dominika Cibulkova rallied from a set down to overcome Sorana Cirstea, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to meet US-American qualifier Louisa Chirico in the stage of the final four. Chirico defeated Daria Gavrilova 7-6, 6-2.