Top seeds sweep on clay


Nadal leads Spanish fleet into Monte Carlo quarter-finals

MONTE CARLO: Rafael Nadal moved closer to perfection for a second day in succession on Thursday, with the five-time champion completing a 6-0, 6-1 rout over German Michael Berrer to roar into the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters.Top seed and 2009 finalist Novak Djokovic also stayed in the race as the Serb defeated Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4.

The comprehensive win was only the tip of the iceberg for Iberia’s clay powerhouse players as four other Spanish seeds followed the world number three into the last eight at the seaside Country Club.

Only number 12 Tommy Robredo, put out 6-3, 6-4 by Argentine David Nalbandian, failed to follow the winning script.

Alberto Montanes’ 6-4, 6-4 upset of fourth seed Marin Cilic lead the way on another sunny, chilly afternoon.

Sixth seed Fernando Verdasco played through his continuing back problems to put out Miami finalist Tomas Berdych, the tenth seed, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2003 and 2003 champion and seeded ninth, rolled back to the glory years as he denied fifth-seeded French hero Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 as the home player saved two match points, Number 11 Iberian sparkplug David Ferrer ended the hopes of local resident Ivan Ljubicic, the eighth-seeded Croatian and Indian Wells champion last month, 6-0, 7-6 (7/4).

Top seeded Serb Novak Djokovic was playing Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka to conclude a showcase day.

Nadal, whose only loss in the principality came in 2003 (he did not play in 2004), now stands 31-1 at the event.

Nadal was in superb touch during his win, which came less than 24 hours after crushing Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker by the identical score.

“I played better, yes, better than yesterday,” said the satisfied Spaniard.

“I played close to the lines, and my feeling is I had more control on the ball than yesterday.

“I had good backhands, very good forehands down the line. I played very well.”

Nadal polished his record at the event which he has owned as champion for the last five years to an overwhelming 29 straight victories as the four-time Roland Garros champion continues a bid for history and a sixth consecutive title.

Berrer, ranked 51st, stood zero chance in the onslaught. The German could do little more than watch as Nadal sent over 28 winners, converted on five of six break point chances and made a mere eight unforced errors in 53 minutes. — AFP