Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rome: Nole battles, Rafa storms and Andy blows out

Rome: Nole battles, Rafa storms and Andy blows out

Djokovic Press Conference
Djokovic vs Monaco Photos

Novak Djokovic reached the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters after a he battle past Juan Monaco 4-6 6-2 6-3, Rafael Nadal also advanced but in a different way.

The 5 times Rome champion crushed Marcel Granollers 61 61 while Andy Murray was sent packing by Richard Gasquet 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Monaco surprised Nole by winning the opening set. It was then when the Serb let all his frustration out and smashed his racquet very hard and broke it in pieces.

The world number 1 found himself a break down in the second set but at that moment he turned things around by winning 20 of the next 24 points to level the match.

Monaco could not sustain his level and Djokovic was able to claim the decider and the win.

Next for Djokovic will be the winner of the match between Juan Martin Del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

"I hope the children watching don't do that," a smiling Djokovic said, referring to his racket-smashing. "But I show my emotions out there. That's who I am.

"I struggled with the wind today and I was a bit defensive and passive in the first set but once I was more direct I started to play much better."

"Mental strength is what is needed, especially when you are playing against a player who has already won two tournaments on this surface this year already and is playing with confidence," Djokovic said. "There are many thoughts that go through your head [when you are down a set] but you try and focus and think positive... I have enough experience to know what to do and I used it today."

Nadal brushed aside Granollers in Rome to secure his place in the quarter-finals where he will play against Tomas Berdych, a 76 63 winner over Nicolas Almagro.

Nadal broke Granollers five times and saved all three break points faced on serve for the one hour, 28-minute victory.

Murray and Gasquet created 17 break point chances; Gasquet capitalised six times and Murray twice.

The Scott revealed that he has been carrying a back problem since December but declined to go into details on the symptoms or its treatment.

"I've felt it for some months, but I haven't had a chance to take a pause. I've tried not to make it any worse, but the muscles get tired from compensating," said Murray, who skipped last week's Madrid Masters because of the problem.

"I've got a lot of big events coming and there's not that much time to rest any niggles. Hopefully when the French comes, the goal is to be in peak condition."

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images