Djokvovic, Nadal advance in Madrid


Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal both extended their win streaks with opening victories at the ATP-WTA Madrid Masters on Wednesday as Roger Federer waited for his chance to join them in the third round. Pakistan’s Aisam ul Haq Qureshi and his Indian partner Rohan Bopanna reached the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles event after defeating the Spanish pair of Ruben Ramirezhidalgo and Santiago Ventura 6-3, 6-0.
Djokovic, who beat South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4, extended his run of 2011 success to 28 consecutive matches, putting the Serb within striking distance of the record for the all-time best season start in tennis. The second seed now has a chance to draw level with Ivan Lendl, who went 29 matches without defeat at the start of the 1986 season.
Nadal won a 35th consecutive match on the surface, efficiently dispatching former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 6-3 in just under 90 minutes. Nadal has not lost on clay since 2009 in the French Open fourth round to Robin Soderling. The top-seeded title holder next faces a high-voltage third-round showdown with Argentine Juan Del Potro, who thrashed Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-0 after complaining of hip pain a day earlier.
Third seed Federer was opening against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez later having won all seven of their previous encounters. Djokovic, the world number two, says he is only interested in replacing Nadal atop the ATP rankings. “It’s a great honour and flattering to be part of the elite, but it’s not my priority,” said Djokovic. “I’m only taking it one match at a time and just hoping I can keep winning.”
Djokovic needed one hour and 40 minutes to beat Anderson, winner of his home title at Johannesburg in February and a clay quarter-finalist last week in Estoril. “Where there is altitude it’s tough to control the ball, there are more mistakes,” said Djokovic, who has won five titles this season.
“It’s crucial to stay really focused for each point. You don’t get that much time on this court and serving well is an advantage. “It’s a fact that I’m playing the best tennis of my life. I’m definitely happy about it,” he added. Former Grand Slam finalist Soderling and Tomas Berdych also came through their opening matches.
Two-time Roland Garros runner-up Soderling, seeded fifth, beat Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-3, while seventh-seeded Wimbledon finalist Berdych overcame Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-0. In the women’s event, China’s Li Na defeated Czech Iveta Benesova 6-1, 6-4 to set up a match with Italian Roberta Vinci, who beat Russian Alisa Kleybanova 6-2, 6-2.
Li secured her win in 58 minutes with five aces and three breaks of serve. In the third round, Czech 16th seed Petra Kvitova upset second-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-4 to earn the first of the quarter-final spots.