The line up for the last eight at the Mutua Madrilena Open ATP 1000 has been set for Friday and the four time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain along with the 2008 champion Andy Murray of Scotland who won his maiden clay court title in Munich on Monday, the Barcelona champion Kei Nishikori, Canada’s Milos Raonic and the extremely consistent Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and veteran Spaniard David Ferrer have safely made it to the quarter-final stage at the fourth ATP Super series event
Of the year. The European clay court season also includes the Monte Carlo Open played in April and the tour moves on to Rome next week for the third super series event on red clay.
The quarter-final line up with my picks mentioned first with the head to head is:-
Tomas Berdych (6) v. John Isner (16) ; Berdych leads 5-2
Rafael Nadal (3) v. Grigor Dmitrov (10); Nadal leads 5-0
Kei Nishikori (4) v. David Ferrer (7); Nishikori leads 7-4
Andy Murray (2) v. Milos Raonic (5); Raonic leads 3-2.
After the surprising early exit of three time champion Roger Federer sanity was restored as six of the top eight took their appointed places in the last eight. Nadal looked in impressive form as he beat the Italian Simone Bolleli winning 6-2,6-2. He remains on course to extend his astonishing run of winning atleast one European clay court title leading to the French Open since 2005. Next up is the promising Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov who outlasted the 2013 runner up Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3. Federer’s conqueror in round two Nick Kyrgios of Australia was brought down to earth by the lone American left in the draw John Isner who won 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-4. He next faces Tomas Berdych who has already reached atleast the semi final of 6 out of the 7 tournaments he has played in 2015. He took out the last remaining Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga 7-5,6-2.
David Ferrer, winner of three titles this year in Doha, Rio De Janeiro and Acapulco won a battle between Spanish veterans against the left handed Fernando Verdasco in three sets. The evening session winners were all comprehensive straight sets. Andy Murray beat a fatigued Marcel Granollers who had beaten Gael Monfils in a gruelling three setter in the previous round, while the two young guns Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori stopped the the top Argentine Leonardo Mayer and the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut. Murray next plays Raonic, while Nishikori faces Ferrer. The quarter-finals line up should be intriguing encounters but expect the higher ranked opponents to come good.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]