Djokovic, Nadal, Federer into last eight, Murray out


Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer reached the Rome Masters quarter-finals on Thursday, but fourth seed Andy Murray suffered another setback in his French Open plans when he crashed out to Richard Gasquet.
Murray, who lost 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 6-2 to the Frenchman, revealed that he has been carrying a back problem since December but declined to go into details on the symptoms or its treatment. However, he did admit to facing a race against time with the French Open starting in Paris a week on Sunday. “I’ve felt it for some months, but I haven’t had a chance to take a pause. I’ve tried not to make it any worse, but the muscles get tired from compensating,” said Murray, who skipped last week’s Madrid Masters because of the problem.
“I’ve got a lot of big events coming and there’s not that much time to rest any niggles. Hopefully when the French comes, the goal is to be in peak condition.” Top seed Djokovic, the defending champion, staged a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 comeback win over Argentine Juan Monaco while second seeded Nadal was ruthless with fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers, winning 6-1, 6-1. Djokovic will tackle Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who saw off Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 6-1, for a place in the last four. “Conditions were very difficult for us. I finally settled into the match,” said Nadal, who will next face Tomas Berdych after last week’s Madrid finalist beat Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7/3), 6-3. Federer, the winner of the Madrid Masters, defeated fellow veteran and former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 with a dozen aces and four breaks of serve.