Nishikori to meet Djokovic in quarter-finals

"I'm still practicing", he said. When you play people that are so good it always makes you give 100 per cent. "I have noticed it from the beginning". Wasn't playing well. I won a couple rounds and lost to Rafa.

Spaniard Almagro, who has never gone beyond the quarter-finals in a grand slam, grew in confidence in the second set, however, with the backing of the home support and saved two break points before forcing a decider.

Ferrer progressed as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga withdrew with a shoulder injury. He may have beaten Djokovic in Monte-Carlo but he then lost to Nadal, in their only meeting to date, 6-3, 6-1.

Djokovic will have to use them again when he faces another Spaniard in Feliciano Lopez on Thursday.

Nadal though was equal to the task and served for the match at 5-3 but Fognini broke back off an uncharacteristic forehand error, only for Nadal to break the Italian straight away and take the match.

"It feels great, I don't know how I did it but I played ideal during the game and I'm very happy about it", Coric told Television Espanola.

"When I started to control the points more towards the end of the first set and second set, I was hitting the ball pretty clean, creating a few chances", Murray said. Djokovic began his title defence against Spain's Nicolas Almagro, who is towards the end of his career but still a risky player, possessing a lot of firepower. Bet: the victory of Rafael Nadal.

"I wasn't expecting myself to play well this week at all", said Kyrgios, who had to pull out of last week's Estoril Open to attend his grandfather's funeral. "It was a big step forward".

In another quarterfinal, Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay rallied to beat Alexander Zverev of Germany 3-6 6-0 6-4.

Third seed Simona Halep remains on course to retain her title as she thrashed American Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-1 yesterday.

"I did my work in the end of the match". The former world number one dispatched Nishikori in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, the final in Miami, 6-3, 6-3 and in last year's semifinal meeting in Madrid.

In a late night match played Tuesday, top seed Andy Murray also advanced to the third round with an easy 6-3, 6-4 victory over Romanian qualifier Marius Copil.

Canadian Milos Raonic defeated Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the Madrid Open Round of 16 Wednesday morning. Nishikori's backhand also possesses a lot of power, and like Djokovic, the 2014 runner-up is able to wear down his opponents.

  • Julie Sanders