Nadal, Federer power into Madrid quarter-finals
Roger Federer will face Juan Martin del Potro in the Madrid Masters quarter-finals.17 October 2008
MADRID -- Former champions Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer powered into the Madrid Masters quarter-finals while title hopeful Novak Djokovic bowed out to Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) on Thursday.
Top-ranked Nadal moved closer to clinching the season-ending No. 1 ranking by beating Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2, while second-ranked Federer eased past Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-1.
Nadal, the 2005 champ who needs to return to the final to retain the year-end top spot, set up an all-Spanish matchup with Feliciano Lopez, who beat Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4.
Federer, winner of Madrid the year after Nadal, will face Juan Martin del Potro, who eliminated defending champion and fellow Argentine David Nalbandian 6-4, 6-2.
"He's proved a lot in the last year ... so I'm excited to play against him," Federer said about his meeting with the ninth-ranked Argentine. "My goal is going to be to try and and break his rhythm."
Also, fourth-seeded Andy Murray edged Marin Cilic of Croatia 7-5, 7-6 (2) while eighth-seeded Andy Roddick lost to Gael Monfils of France 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Karlovic's aggressive game and ferocious serve frustrated the third-ranked Djokovic into fits of racket throwing and shouts.
Aces flew as both players held serve thanks to Madrid's fast conditions; the Croatian hitting 21 aces to Djokovic's eight.
Djokovic, who hadn't lost before the quarter-finals in Madrid, overhit a passing shot on Karlovic's first match point.
Nadal dominated his French opponent, hitting one passing winner after another as Gasquet came to the net all match. Nadal noted afterward that a right leg injury was much better.
"I played a good match and I am leaving happy with my game, but it's true that he has made more unforced errors than usual, especially with his backhand," Nadal said.
In a first career matchup with Federer expected to produce lots of sting, Tsonga seemed to lose steam from the end of the first set when the Frenchman nicknamed "Ali" because of his uncanny resemblance to former boxer Muhammad Ali double-faulted.
Federer had few problems from there on out and scored two breaks in the second set to complete the quick win.
"I tried to put him under pressure there, the conditions allow you to do that," Federer said. "At this stage you're looking for the knockout punch, like in boxing."
With the win, Federer surpassed Pete Sampras to become the ATP's career leader in prize money, reaching US$43,317,870 (CHF 49,196,587) in 10 years as a pro. Sampras made US$43,280,489.
"It's very nice to have records," Federer said. "Sure, money is important in life but it's not everything."
[AP / Expatica]