Nadal triumphs, Monfils ousts Roddick

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal rushed through his Japan Open quarterfinal to watch some football while second-seeded Andy Roddick was ousted by Gael Monfils in a three-hour nail-biter on Friday.

Nadal overwhelmed Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-1 to reserve a semifinals spot. Tursunov, a six-time winner on tour, reached his first quarterfinals on tour this week since he returned to the tour in May following two ankle surgeries.

Nadal said he was hoping to finish up early so he could have a quiet dinner and then watch the football friendly between Japan and Argentina.

But he said he was not ready yet to start thinking about winning his first title in Japan.

"It was a very nice atmosphere," he said. "But I still have hard matches ahead."

Viktor Troicki spared Nadal from meeting Guillermo Garcia-Lopez — who beat Nadal en route to the Bangkok title last week — by defeating the Spaniard 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Troicki, who served 14 aces, has yet to beat Nadal.

Monfils outlasted Roddick 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (6) in a nearly three-hour-long match that was won on big serves and well-placed returns.

Roddick converted his only break chance in three to win the second set, and it was the only break of the match. Monfils missed all 10 of his break chances, needing to edge 10th-ranked Roddick in tiebreakers.

Monfils, ranked 15th and seeded 5th, said he tried to play an aggressive game and push the power-serving Roddick by going to the net and concentrating on placing his return shots.

"He has a good first serve, so I focused on my returns," Monfils said. "I came to the net more often than usual. I knew I could beat him."

Monfils improved his record to 5-3 against Roddick, though the American went into the match with a 3-1 advantage on hard surfaces.

"I like the court, but it is not my favorite surface because it is very fast," Monfils said.

Roddick said he was satisfied with his first tournament since he was eliminated in the second round of the U.S. Open on Sept. 1.

"I thought it was one of the best matches I played since spring," Roddick said. "I hit the ball really well but he played some of his best tennis to win."

Monfils’ semifinal opponent will be Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, who progressed when  Jarkko Nieminen of Finland forfeited because of a fever.