Rafa rusty but rolls on in Rome, Murray out
Originally published on: 30/04/10 12:09
Rafael Nadal might not be entirely happy with his game in Rome, but still posted a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over Victor Hanescu to book his spot in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
Despite the concerns espressed after his opening 6-1 6-3 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber, the Spaniard looks in good shape to claim a fifth crown in the Italian capital as another high-profile showdown failed to fall into place.
With the prospect of a Federer-Nadal semi-final ended with an opening-match defeat for the world No.1, a potential clay-court rematch with Robin Soderling, the Swede who infamously ended Nadal’s unbeaten run at Roland Garros last May, was quashed as Stanislas Wawrinka put the No.5 seed to the sword 6-3 6-2.
Attention will now turn to the rematch between Fernando Verdasco and Novak Djokovic after both progressed in straight sets. Verdasco, who beat the Serb on his way to a first Masters 1000 final appearance in Monte Carlo before capturing the title in Barcelona last week, edged out Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4 7-6(2). Djokovic, champion in 2008 and last year’s beaten finalist, ended Thomaz Bellucci’s run with a 6-4 6-4 win.
Andy Murray remained upbeat after losing 6-3 6-4 to David Ferrer as the evening set in. After the abject disappointment of his “rubbish” display in Monte Carlo, the Scot found reasons to be cheerful against the Spaniard.
“I thought it was a good match,” he said. “A high standard with a lot of good points. I wasn’t able to create more break-point opportunities – that’s normally one of the best parts of my game – but, in terms of striking the ball, it was way, way better than in the last two tournaments. I just didn’t do the basics as well as I would have liked.”
At times flashes of Murray’s inventive best shone through, and there were signs that the venom was returning to his serve, though a first serve conversion rate of just 38 percent will no doubt be an area of improvement he will earmark ahead of his next outing in Madrid.
Ferrer goes on to play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last eight after the Frenchman beat Santiago Giraldo 6-3 6-4, while Feliciano Lopez was handed a quarer-final berth after Ivan Ljubicic withdrew ahead of their match with an abdominal strain.
After clinching the biggest win of his career with victory over Roger Federer in the second round, Ernests Gulbis needed three sets once more to edge out Filippo Volandri in a high-energy but low-quality encounter. Volandri, the last Italian in the draw and back by a fervent home support, conspired to make even more errors than the Latvian, who this time needed only three match points to seal a 6-2 3-6 7-6(4) win.