Nadal, Djokovic, Federer in Monte Carlo quarters
By Scott Williams ,AFP
April 19, 2014, 12:17 am TWN
MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Rafael Nadal racked up his 300th career clay court win to reach the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals on Thursday where he was joined by longtime rivals Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, and Roger Federer.
World number one Nadal finished with an ace on match point to seal his landmark 6-1, 6-3 win over Italy's Andreas Seppi while Djokovic cruised past Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta and Federer saw off Czech Lukas Rosol.
Nadal became just the 11th man to crack 300 wins on clay — the last to do so was Spaniard Carlos Moya, who ended his career in 2007 with 337 victories.
Nadal still has ground to cover on clay before approaching the all-time top winner on the surface — Argentine Guillermo Vilas who compiled a record of 644-183 on the surface three decades ago.
The Spaniard said he felt an improvement in his play against Seppi, with the win taking him into another meeting with compatriot David Ferrer.
Spanish sixth seed Ferrer booked his place by beating Bulgarian number 12 Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2.
“I did what I had to,” said top seed Nadal. “But playing David (Ferrer) is never easy. If you are not at the top of your game you will lose. I'm just glad to be in a quarter-final.”
Nadal had a few spots of bother against Italy's Seppi, with the world number one forced to save five break points in the sixth game of the opening set for a 5-1 lead.
“At 4-1 I just stopped moving my legs, it was mental, not physical,” he explained.