MADRID: World number one Novak Djokovic racked up his 30th win of a dominant season with a 6-2, 6-1 destruction of Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the Madrid Masters quarter-finals on Thursday.
The resurgent Rafael Nadal and defending champion Andy Murray also remained on course for a semi-final clash as they eased past Sam Querrey and Gilles Simon respectively in straight sets.
Djokovic is playing in Madrid for the first time in three years, but hasn’t taken long to adjust to the different conditions in the altitude of the Spanish capital as he has reached the quarters for the loss of just nine games.
“After a long game at 2-2 in the first set, I managed to break his serve.
It was a flawless performance after that, everything worked very well,” said Djokovic.
The Serb will continue his quest for a fifth title of the season against Milos Raonic as the big serving Canadian dumped out seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-4.
Nadal stretched his perfect start to the European clay-court season to 12 matches as he fought back from going down an early break to beat Querrey 6-4, 6-2.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion is in fine form after victories in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and is seeking to break Guillermo Vilas’ record with a 50th clay-court title in Sunday’s final.
“I had the confidence that if I managed to make the rallies longer, more than three balls, I knew that things could turn around,” said Nadal.
Nadal next meets Portugal’s Joao Sousa who overcame Jack Sock 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2.
Murray extended his impressive record over Simon to 14-2 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over 16th seed.
The two-time Grand Slam champion will face Tomas Berdych in the last eight after the Czech got the better of David Ferrer 7-6 (10/8), 7-5.
“After the first six or seven games I really started to hit the ball well, “said Murray.
In the women’s competition, the only remaining seed Simona Halep was victorious in an all-Romanian quarter-final against Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 0-6, 6-1.
Halep will face former US Open champion Sam Stosur after she beat Patricia Maria Tig 6-3, 6-4.
American qualifier Louisa Chirico also continued her fairytale run to reach her first ever WTA semi-final. She beat Australian Daria Gavrilova.
Dominika Cibulkova came from a set down to beat Romanian Sorana Cirstea.
Results (x denotes seeding):
Third round: Andy Murray (GBR x2) bt Gilles Simon (FRA x16) 6-4, 6-2; Kei Nishikori (JPN x6) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA x10) 6-4, 7-5; Tomas Berdych (CZE x8) bt David Ferrer (ESP x9) 7-6 (10/8), 7-5; Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x15) 6-2, 6-1; Nick Kyrgios (AUS) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-3; Joao Sousa (POR) bt Jack Sock (USA) 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2; Rafael Nadal (ESP x5) bt Sam Querrey (USA) 6-4, 6-2; Milos Raonic (CAN x11) bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x7) 6-4, 6-4.
Quarter-finals: Louisa Chirico (USA) bt Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 7-6 (7/1), 6-2; Simona Halep (ROM x6) bt Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) 6-3, 0-6, 6-1; Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; Sam Stosur (AUS) bt Patricia Maria Tig (ROM) 6-3, 6-4.
Courtesy : Dawn News