Monte Carlo, Monaco (4E Sports) – World No. 1 Rafael Nadal defeated Andreas Seppi, 6-1, 6-3, to reach the quarterfinal of the Monte-Carlo Masters and become the 11th player in the Open Era to record 300 tour-level clay-court wins.
The 27-year-old Nadal won his first clay-court match 12 years ago in Mallorca against Ramon Delgado. His victories on clay have seen him capture 43 tour-level titles, including eight Roland Garros crowns.
Nadal improved to a 5-1 against Seppi as he claimed victory in 74 minutes. The Mallorcan converted all five of his break points and won 82 percent of his first serve points.
“I think today I played a little bit better than yesterday,” assessed Nadal. “For a long time I was playing at a good level, I think, changing directions very well and playing with the right intensity.”
Nadal is bidding for his ninth title at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament. He won eight successive trophies between 2005-12 before being dethroned by Novak Djokovic in the final last year.
For a place in the semifinals, Nadal will face sixth-seeded countryman David Ferrer, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Grigor Dimitrov.
Meanwhile, Djokovic claimed his 12th win in a row as he defeated lucky loser Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-0, 6-1, in 47 minutes.
The 26-year-old Djokovic will next face Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who fought from a set down to upset fifth seed Tomas Berdych, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in two hours and six minutes.
Roger Federer also advanced to the quarterfinal after dismissing Lukas Rosol, 6-4, 6-1, in just 57 minutes.
With the win, Federer earned a quarterfinal clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who celebrated his 29th birthday with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 win over Fabio Fognini.
Eighth seed Milos Raonic also reached the quarterfinals after dismissing Tommy Robredo, 6-4, 6-3 in 73 minutes.
The 23-year-old Raonic goes on to face third seed and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka, who was given a walkover when Nicolas Almagro withdrew due to pain in his left foot.
On the women’s side, top seed Dominika Cibulkova eased past Su-Wei Hsieh, 6-1, 6-2, to book a spot in the quarterfinal round of the Malaysian Open against sixth seed Zarina Diyas.
Third seed and defending champion Karolina Pliskova also reached the quarterfinal after beating Duan Ying-Ying, 6-1, 6-3. She will take on Cagla Buyukakcay, who beat Tadeja Majeric, 6-4, 6-4.
Other quarterfinals pairings will pit Zhang Shuai against Magda Linette and Patricia Mayr- Achleitner versus seventh-seeded Croat Donna Vekic.
Zhang got past wild card and fellow Chinese Ling Zhang, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0, while Vekic vaulted past Kristyna Pliskova, 1-6, 6-3, 7-5.