Fed, Nole and Rafa into last eight
It was business as usual for the big boys in Hamburg on Thursday with routine wins for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Top seed and defending champion Roger Federer was the first big name into the quarter-finals when he brushed aside Swede Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-2.
The four-time Hamburg champion’s next test will be against surprise quarter-finalist Fernando Verdasco, who got past fifth seed David Ferrer 7-6, 6-2.
Another relative outsider into the last eight is Italian Andreas Seppi, a 6-0, 6-3 winner over 12th seeded Argentine Juan Monaco.
Seppi is sure to have the Rothenbaum crowd against him on Friday when he takes on the last surviving German in the draw, Nicolas Kiefer.
Kiefer kept home hopes alive by shocking Russian fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko with an impressive 7-5, 6-3 victory.
In the bottom half, Albert Montanes confirmed his place on Friday’s order of play sheet when he thrashed Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-2, 6-1.
Montanes’ reward is a date with third seed and recent Rome champion Novak Djokovic who was pushed hard by giant Croat Ivo Karlovic before emerging with a 7-6, 6-3 victory.
At the foot of the draw, good friends Carlos Moya and Nadal will do battle for a place in the semis. Moya eventually proved too good for Marat Safin, winning 6-2, 6-7, 6-1.
Second seed Nadal spoiled Andy Murray’s birthday celebrations by beating the Scot 6-3, 6-2 in the last match of the day.
In Rome, the superstars also made it through to the last eight of the WTA Tier 1 Italian Open clay event, with wins for Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Maria Sharapova.
Fifth seed Serena Williams had to work hard against Italian Sara Errani to book her quarter-final place, twice recovering from a break down in the opening set before coming through 6-4, 6-3.
She’ll now face young French star Alize Cornet after the teenager strolled past Russian third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-4 late in the day.
After shocking top seed and world No.3 Ana Ivanovic on Wednesday, Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova continued her excellent week when opponent, Victoria Azarenka, quit their match with Pironkova leading 6-2, 1-0.
The Bulgarian goes up against Anna Chakvetadze for a place in the last four after the Russian sixth seed came through a topsy-turvey three-setter with Pole Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 in the decider.
In the bottom half, second seed Sharapova made heavy weather of her contest against young Dane Caroline Wozniacki, before coming through 6-4, 7-6.
The Russian, who following the retirement of Justine Henin on Wednesday will become the world No.1 on Monday, faces Swiss ninth seed Patty Schnyder on Friday after she squeezed past Marion Bartoli 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.
Jelena Jankovic blew away Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-1 early in the day and must wait to find out her quarter-final opponent, the winner of the evening match between Venus Williams and Vera Zvonareva.
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