Djokovic sets up Madrid duel with co-sponsored Nishikori

Novak Djokovic was not broken in the 93-minute clash against Feliciano Lopez yesterday and faced just one break point. The Serb's win allowed him to reach the quarter-finals.
Novak Djokovic was not broken in the 93-minute clash against Feliciano Lopez yesterday and faced just one break point. The Serb's win allowed him to reach the quarter-finals.PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID • World No. 2 Novak Djokovic reached the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open yesterday with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Feliciano Lopez.

The defending champion had fewer problems against the 35-year-old Spaniard than in his three-set second-round test with Nicolas Almagro a day earlier.

Djokovic was not broken in the 93-minute clash, and faced just one break point.

Rain in the Spanish capital meant the roof on the Manolo Santana court was closed for the game, slowing down the powerful serve of Lopez to the advantage of the Serb, who recently split from his long-term coach Marian Vajda.

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"Maybe I was lucky the roof closed," Djokovic said. "It made the conditions a bit slower. I thought I played really solid."

The Serb will next face Kei Nishikori after the Japanese swept past David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3.

The sixth seed was far too good for the former French Open finalist who has struggled for form in slipping to 30th in the world this season. Indeed, Nishikori's progress was delayed only by a rain break in the second set as he registered his third win in four years over Ferrer here to reach the last eight.

"Tomorrow there's going to be one winner, that's Uniqlo I'm sure," Djokovic joked, referring to the Japanese casual wear label that sponsors the duo.

"Everything in his game is right on point. I need to be physically ready and mentally sharp."

David Goffin is also through to the last eight after defeating world No. 6 Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-2.

In the women's Madrid Open, third seed Simona Halep remains on course to retain her title as she thrashed American Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-1.

The Romanian faces Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in today's semi-finals after the world No. 22 saw off Kiki Bertens 6-3, 6-3.

On Wednesday, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard advanced to the quarter-finals when top seed Angelique Kerber retired with a lower back injury while trailing 3-6, 0-5.

The German's earlier Madrid results, however, were enough to ensure that she will return to the top of the rankings next Monday, displacing Serena Williams.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2017, with the headline 'Djokovic sets up Madrid duel with co-sponsored Nishikori'. Print Edition | Subscribe