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Nadal Sets Berdych QF; Gasquet Ousts Murray

Rome, Italy

Gasquet© Getty ImagesRichard Gasquet reaches the Rome quarter-finals for a second straight year.

Rafael Nadal brushed aside fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-1 on Thursday in Rome to secure his place in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Nadal, a five-time champion at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, broke Granollers five times and saved all three break points faced on serve for the one hour, 28-minute victory. He became the fourth player to reach 30 match wins this season (30-4), joining Juan Martin del Potro, David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro.

"I started the match bad with two double faults with my serve, but after the first two or three games, I started to play well - good forehand, control of the point and going to net," he assessed. "Conditions were difficult and windy but I think I found rhythm and after third game I played very solid."

The World No. 3 will next face last week’s Madrid finalist and seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who defeated Almagro 7-6(3), 6-3 earlier in the day. "His level is fantastic on clay and hard and grass," said Nadal. "He is a complete player and so tomorrow will be a difficult match for me. If I play my best, it will be possible."

World No. 4 Andy Murray failed to reach the quarter-finals for just the second time this season, falling to 16th-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-2. Both players created 17 break point chances; Gasquet capitalised six times and Murray twice.

"It was a big match and I was a little disappointed for losing the first set," admitted Gasquet. "One hour, 20 minutes is tiring for me and very tough, but then I started to play well and I broke him in the first game of the second set and I started to feel comfortable with my serve."

Murray had also been tested in his opening match against David Nalbandian on Tuesday, before overcoming the Argentine with a late break in the third set. "Similar to the other night," reflected the British No. 1. "Long match and sore back towards the end, but I was expecting that coming to the tournament. I didn’t take a break from training and playing a lot, but the muscles are more tired and fatigued."

Gasquet, a recent finalist at the clay-court tournament in Estoril (l. to del Potro), recorded two Top 10 victories en route to the Rome semi-finals last year. He upset Roger Federer in the Round of 16 and Berdych in the quarter-finals before losing to Nadal.

He will take a 1-6 FedEx ATP Head 2 Head record into his next match against World No. 6 Ferrer, who posted his circuit-best 20th match win on clay this season by defeating 11th-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-0, 7-6(5)

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