Federer, Nadal, Djokovic in Hamburg quarters

May 16th, 2008 - 2:33 pm ICT by admin  

Hamburg, May 16 (DPA) Rafael Nadal spoiled the birthday of Andy Murray to reach the quarterfinals of the Hamburg Masters along with the other top stars Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The second-ranked Spaniard Nadal had no presents for Murray Thursday as he sent the 15th-seeded Scot packing on his 21st birthday, 6-3, 6-2.

Earlier, world No.1 Federer routed Sweden’s Robin Soderling, 6-3, 6-2 to remain on course towards a fifth Hamburg title.

The third-seeded Djokovic survived a dozen aces to beat Croatian Ivo Karlovic, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in 1 hour 37 minutes.

There was also local joy when Nicolas Kiefer became the first German in the Hamburg quarters in nine years with a 7-5, 6-3 upset over fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia.

Federer took 63 minutes to raise his perfect career record against the 48th-ranked Soderling to 6-0. The Swiss player fired 24 winners and had just 10 unforced errors. Soderling, by contrast, managed only 12 winners and had 24 errors.

In the quarters, Federer meets 28th-ranked Fernando Verdasco, who avenged a recent Valencia defeat against fifth-seeded David Ferrer by winning the Spanish duel, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

Federer is yet to win a big tournament this year, his only title being at the small Portuguese clay event in Estoril. Last week he lost in the Rome Masters quarterfinal against Czech Radek Stepanek.

Hamburg comes at the right time to boost his confidence ahead of the French Open starting May 25, the only Grand Slam he is yet to win.

“I am happy with the win,” he said of Thursday’s match. “I feel comfortable with the surroundings here. For some reason I have always done well here. It is my most successful Masters.”

Federer also said he he felt fresh despite playing his fourth clay event: “I have no aches and pains. I feel very fit, very match tough.”

Djokovic and Karlovic traded breaks early on before the in-form Serb took the opener in the tie-break with six unanswered points. He then got the deciding break for 4-2 and served out the match in the ninth game, wrapping up matters with a service winner.

“It is never easy to play a tiebreaker against such a server. I thought I had a better chance against him on clay, but he serves well on clay, too. I nearly lost the first set,” said Djokovic.

Djokovic is the hottest player of the year with three titles: the Australian Open and the Indian Wells and Rome Masters. He next meets unseeded Albert Montanes of Spain, who ousted Serb Janko Tipsarevic, 6-2, 6-1.

Djokovic can take the number two ranking from Nadal in Hamburg - ideally in a possible semi-final showdown between the two.

Nadal left Murray no chance, firing 23 winners to Murray’s 11 and booking six of the last seven games to win in 1:17 hours. He showed no more signs of a foot blister which sent him crashing in the second round in Rome.

“It was a good match. I am fine, I am playing very well,” said Nadal.

Murray said of Nadal: “His forehand on clay, that’s the best shot in tennis.”

Nadal now runs into his former mentor and countryman Carlos Moya. The 11th seed beat Russia’s Marat Safin 6-2, 6-7 (3-7), 6-1 in a duel of former world number one players.

Kiefer, meanwhile, became the first German since Tommy Haas to make the quarters in an intense duel with Davydenko which lasted 1:53 hours, his best result of the year.

Kiefer survived a break point at 1-1 in the second set and got the decisive break for 5-3 when Davydenko netted a forehand. He wrapped up the big win on first match point on another error from Davydenko and now meets Italian Andreas Seppi, a 6-0, 6-3 winner over 12th-seeded Argentine Juan Monaco.

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