Nadal, Federer advance easily in Paris

October 31st, 2008 - 3:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Rafael NadalParis, Oct 31 (DPA) Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer stormed into the quarter-final of the Paris Masters, dropping just ten games between them in one-sided victories.Nadal, trying to save strength for a season that includes the Masters Cup in Shanghai and a Davis Cup final in Argentina, Thursday won his third match this season over Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2. The Spanish world number one has now beaten the Frenchman in three continents since January.

Second seed Roger Federer retained the form that took him to last week’s Basel title, overwhelming Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-4. The promising Croatian saved three match points, one game before Federer clinched his 65th victory of the season.

“I thought the match was okay. It wasn’t like it was my best,” said the 13-time Grand Slam champion, who has never won a title in Paris. “It was a solid performance. I’m happy that I’m making the guys play on their serves. I’m reading their serves the way I would like to.”

Andy Roddick qualified for Shanghai starting next week, joining the elite for the sixth consecutive year.

The US player secured his spot in China at the eight-man yearender by beating France’s Gilles Simon 6-3, 7-5.

“It’s always an honour to qualify. I think this is six straight years, so that’s a good accomplishment,” he said. “They put on a great event there, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga triumphed in a replay of January’s Australian Open final, putting out Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. The result duplicated the September Bangkok final, which the Frenchman also won.

Djokovic, whose last title came in May in Rome, admitted facing difficulties.

“I don’t think there’s any big problem, I just don’t feel quite comfortable on the court, that’s all,” said the Serb number three. “I think this is part of the sport and crisis that every player has to go through. I’m sure I will overcome it.”

Red-hot Scot Andy Murray won his 14th consecutive match and kept alive his bid for three consecutive Masters Series titles by beating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).

With just three days of play remaining in the regular season this week at the Bercy arena, two closing spots in the eight-man season final are still up for discussion.

Murray though was unimpressed by being exiled to the cramped secondary court, with narrower space to maneuver: “The ceiling is, like, so low, and it makes the court play so much faster. It’s just completely different.”

He moved into a quarter-final with David Nalbandian, who beat compatriot Juan Del Potro for the second week in succession 6-4, 6-0.

Del Potro has been nursing a painful split toenail for months, with no time to have it removed until after the Davis Cup final with Spain in late November.

Nalbandian is defending the Paris title after making a run to the trophy in 2007 with wins over Federer and Nadal.

Two final spots for Shanghai remain to be decided this week, with Nalbandian, Simon, James Blake and Tsonga the leading contenders.

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