Anderson loses to Nadal
Toronto - World number one Rafa Nadal's victory at the Toronto Masters on Thursday set the stage for mouthwatering quarter-final matches that will feature the game's top four men's players.
The presence of Nadal, his great rival Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in the last eight offers the promise of something special as the players gear up for the US Open.
Nadal and Federer have each claimed a pair of Canadian titles and a Sunday clash between the Swiss master and the muscular Spaniard would be a dream final for tennis fans.
But world number two Djokovic, a winner in 2007, and Murray, seeded fourth and the defending champion, have shown they too are capable of delivering memorable moments.
Eager to add an elusive U.S. Open title to the Wimbledon and French Open crowns he has already lifted this season, Nadal dismissed big-serving South African Kevin Anderson 6-2 7-6.
Next up for Nadal will be 37th ranked German Philipp Kohlschreiber, a 6-7 7-5 6-0 winner over Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun.
Federer eased into the quarter-finals with a 7-6 6-3 win over Frenchman Michael Llodra, setting up a grudge match with Czech nemesis Tomas Berdych, who booked his place with a 6-3 6-7 6-4 win over Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Twice a champion in Canada, Federer has shown confidence and improving form in Toronto but will need to bring his 'A' game to center court on Friday since Berdych has had the Swiss maestro's number this season.
While Federer holds an 8-3 edge in head-to-head meetings, Berdych has dominated the 16-time grand slam winner this season and helped send the former number-one down to number three in the world rankings.
The quarter-final will mark their third meeting in the past five months, with the hard-hitting Czech coming out on top in both previous encounters, including a quarter-final upset at Wimbledon that ended Federer's reign at the All-England Club.
"I definitely will have to go back and take a look at what didn't go so well against him and what did work well," Federer told reporters. "He's definitely on a run right now."
Murray survived a rollercoaster ride into quarter-finals with a wild 6-2 0-6 6-3 win over Frenchman Gael Monfils.
The Briton may have the toughest road to the semi-finals as he faces a resurgent Argentine David Nalbandian, who has been unstoppable since returning in July from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for two months.
Since returning last month in Davis Cup play, Nalbandian has been in inspired form reeling off a career best 11 straight wins, including a gritty 4-6 6-4 6-1 victory over fifth-seeded Swede Robin Soderling earlier on Thursday.
Djokovic, who nearly wilted under the intense heat during his opening match, was back looking fresh and fit as he swept past Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-3 6-4.
The Serb will meet Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, a 6-3 6-2 winner over Russian sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko.