Nadal, Federer into Monte Carlo quarters
Six-time defending champion Rafael Nadal advanced to the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters by defeating Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday.
The top-ranked Spaniard broke the 13th-seeded Frenchman's serve twice in each set, as he extended his winning streak at the clay-court tournament to 34 matches.
"In general, I think (it) was a very positive victory against a very difficult opponent," Nadal said.
Roger Federer also won in straight sets, defeating Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-4, 6-3.
"I was consistent and didn't allow him to get into the points he wanted to on my own serve," said Federer, who will face Jurgen Melzer or Nicolas Almagro in the quarterfinals.
Federer won 79 percent of first-serve points, breaking Cilic once in each set.
"I'm mixing it up well, using kick serves, slider, hitting it hard enough, making sure that, you know, I don't have to maybe go through that many second serves," Federer said.
Nadal had a brief wobble when Gasquet picked up his form late in the second set, breaking the five-time French Open champion's serve with a crosscourt winner from the back of the court to even it at 4-4.
But Gasquet, who lost in the Monte Carlo semifinals to Nadal in 2005, hurried his shots in the next game and Nadal broke back.
Nadal closed out the match on serve when Gasquet's backhand pass bounced out. The 24-year-old Nadal next faces Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia.
Frederico Gil of Portugal, who came through the qualifiers, defeated No. 8 Gael Monfils of France 7-6 (6), 6-2. He will face Andy Murray, who got past a hobbling Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-3. Simon turned his ankle at the end of the first set and completed the match with heavy tape on the injury.
David Ferrer also advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Milos Raonic 6-1, 6-3.
The fourth-seeded Spaniard dictated most of the rallies and pinned Raonic behind the baseline. The big-serving Canadian rarely threatened, managing only one ace and losing his own serve five times.
Ferrer will face Viktor Troicki of Serbia, who was trailing 3-6, 2-1 when Tommy Robredo retired.
Ivan Ljubicic stopped fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-2 to reach his third quarterfinal of the season.
Nadal lost his last three finals and hasn't won a title since the Japan Open in October.
"I feel when I'm playing well with the forehand, is very important shot for me. So I can have the control of the point most of the time," he said. "When I am playing well with the forehand, everything is a little bit less difficult."