Madrid Masters: Federer, Nadal enter quarters

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal won in contrasting styles to advance to the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters on Thursday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal won in contrasting styles to advance to the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters on Thursday. Defending champion Nadal won 27 of 30 points on his first serve, broke 13th-seeded Tommy Haas three times and eliminated the German 6-4, 6-3 in 88 minutes. "My serve has been going quite well both days, and I was able to impose my pace throughout the match,'' the world No. 2 said. "Maybe my backhand can improve, but I'm very happy with all aspects of my game.'' Federer rallied in two tiebreakers to beat Robin Soderling of Sweden 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8) with a little help from video replay. Challenge system Neither Federer nor Soderling lost serve in the match, but the top-ranked Federer correctly challenged - using the Hawkeye video replay system - a cross-court forehand from Soderling initially ruled in. It was the second straight point in which Federer had successfully challenged a shot by Soderling. Each player receives two challenges a set in this tournament. If he is correct with a challenge, the player retains the same number of challenges. If the player is incorrect, one of the challenges is lost. "I thought it was really funny, especially waiting like this for the match-point,'' said Federer, who opposes the challenge system. "This has never happened before and I thought it was kind of silly.'' Federer - who served 13 aces in his 50 winners - trailed 5-2 in the first-set tiebreaker and 4-2 in the second tiebreaker, which included six lead changes. Next clash Next Federer will play Robby Ginepri of the United States, who topped seventh-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-3, 7-6 (3). Nadal, buyoed by the support of the home crowd which included Real Madrid teammates David Beckham and Robinho, advanced to a meeting against Tomas Berdych. The 11th-ranked Czech fired 23 aces and had the only break of the match to get past Andy Roddick 7-6 (7), 6-3. Novak Djokovic saved three break points in the second set as he rallied for a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Andy Murray of Britain. The Serb steadied himself after 35 unforced errors in the first two sets to move on and face 10th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez after Joachim Johansson withdrew with a throat infection. Fourth-seeded David Nalbandian won four straight games to close out the match 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 against British wild card Tim Henman. The two players exchanged words at 5-5 in the final set, when Henman agreed Nalbandian's first serve at 15-30 was in - but wouldn't give the point to the Argentine. "I think he's in a dream world,'' Henman said. "And so then he starts questioning my sportsmanship. If you're going to go down that road, there's only going to be one winner in that debate.'' Nalbandian now will face Marat Safin in a repeat of the 2004 final. Safin rolled past Kristof Vliegen 6-3, 6-2. (AP)