Monte Carlo - Rafael Nadal stepped up his campaign for an historic ninth
straight title at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday as the third seed won his
44th match in a row at the venue with a 6-2, 6-4 defeat of German Philip
The Spanish great lifted his record at the seaside Country Club to 46-1 at a
tournament where he suffered his lone defeat in 2003 against Guillermo Coria.
Nadal will next line up in the quarter-finals on Friday against Grigor
Dimitrov, who beat Germany's Florian Mayer with an identical 6-2, 6-4
Nadal advanced in 80 minutes and earned revenge for his only loss to
Kohlschreiber from 10 meetings, a grass quarter-final defeat from last summer
This win was his 16th in a row after successive titles this season in Indian
Wells and Acapulco.
"It was a great win for me," said Nadal, who follows the same
script for every victory. "I'm very happy.
"Every match is a new one for me, every day is completely different. We
will see what goes on tomorrow. But I just love playing here and feel a great
emotion every time I step onto the court here."
Unpredictable Italian Fabio Fognini sprung a surprise on fourth seed Tomas
Berdych, dismissing the Czech 6-4, 6-2. French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
thrilled his home fans as he overwhelmed Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-0.
"It's difficult to assess my game because he was not really playing his
best," Tsonga said of the below-par Melzer. "But I'm happy I was able
to do the job.
"When you play tennis, you always try for perfection. Of course,
sometimes you can't reach that. I'm happy with my game today. Of course, there
are always some things you can improve."
Andy Murray was battling to save his world No 2 ranking as he faced
The Swiss 13th seed could do compatriot Roger Federer a favour if he beats
Murray, which would knock the Scot out of his ATP position behind Novak
Djokovic and push Federer from third to second again.
The world No 1 Serb was testing his injured right ankle for a second
straight day as he played Argentine Juan Monaco.
Results from the fifth day of the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday (x denotes
Third roundFabio Fognini (ITA) bt Tomas Berdych (CZE x4) 6-4, 6-2
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) bt Florian Mayer (GER) 6-2, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (ESP x3) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x16) 6-2, 6-4
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x6) bt Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 6-3, 6-0