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Nadal, Djokovic, Murray Feature In Rome QFs

Rome, Italy

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal will face Andy Murray in the Rome quarter-finals.

QUARTER-FINAL DAY: Seven of the world’s top 20 players will contest the Internazionali BNL d’Italia QF on Day 6 at the Foro Italico. Leading the way are the top two players in the Emirates ATP Rankings – Rafael Nadal and Noval Djokovic, who have won the last nine Rome titles between them. The Spaniard reignites his rivalry with world No. 8 Andy Murray as the pair face off for the 19th time, with the world No. 1 leading their FedEx H2H series 13-5. Earlier in the day, Djokovic goes up against David Ferrer for the eighth year in succession. The pair meet for the 17th time with the Serb having won 11 of their previous encounters. Centrale also houses Tommy Haas and birthday boy Grigor Dimitrov, who clash for the third time with their series tied at 1-1. World No. 10 Milos Raonic, who is contesting his fourth ATP Masters 1000 QF of the season, takes a 4-0 record into his clash with Roger Federer’s conqueror Jeremy Chardy on Grandstand. 

RIVALRY REIGNITED: Nadal and Murray meet today for the 19th time and for the first time in more than two and half years. Their last encounter came in the Tokyo final in October 2011 – one of five meetings between the pair that year – with Murray prevailing 3-6, 6-2, 6-0. Murray has never beaten Nadal on clay, however, taking just one set from the Spaniard in four meetings on the surface.

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SPANISH MILESTONE: Ferrer (575-279) will surpass former world No. 1 Carlos Moya (575-319) in career wins if he can find a way past Djokovic today. Ferrer drew level with countryman Moya in 25th place on the Open Era match wins leaderboard (575 wins) with his victory over Gulbis. Now just two Spaniards have more career wins than Ferrer – Nadal (690) and Manuel Orantes (641). 

MAKING THEIR MARK: Today marks the just the second time that two players born in the 1990s have reached the QF of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000: Dimitrov (May 16, 1991) and Raonic (Dec. 27, 1990). The only other time this happened was in Montreal last year: Raonic and Pospisil.

GENERATIONS COLLIDE: The clash between Haas and Dimitrov pits together the oldest and youngest players ranked in the top 20. At 36, Haas’ win over Wawrinka in the 3R made him the oldest player to post a top three win since Jimmy Connors (39) defeated No. 3 Michael Stich in Memphis in 1992. He’s also the oldest quarter-finalist at an ATP Masters 1000 event (since 1990).

DAY 6 FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS

CENTRALE

[12] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs [15] Tommy Haas (GER)


Dimitrov advanced to the second ATP Masters 1000 QF of his career as he recovered from a set down for the second time this week, defeating No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-2.
• Dimitrov saw off Edouard Roger-Vasselin 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and Ivo Karlovic 7-6(3), 6-4 in his opening two rounds.
• It is Dimitrov’s 23rd birthday today. 
• Dimitrov is making his second appearance in Rome. He advanced to the 2R on his debut last year (l. to Gasquet). 
• Dimitrov broke the top 20 for the first time in February after a QF appearance at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal) and a title-winning run at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco (d. No. 18 Gulbis, No. 7 Murray and No. 21 Anderson). In April, the Bulgarian improved to a career-high No. 14 and captured his third career title in Bucharest (d. Rosol in F). 
• Dimitrov is just one of two players born in the 1990s to win multiple ATP World Tour titles – after Raonic, who has five titles to his name.
• At 22, Dimitrov is the youngest player in the top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. 
• In 2013, Dimitrov improved his ranking for a sixth year in succession. He became the first Bulgarian to win an ATP World Tour event when he defeated Ferrer in the final of Stockholm.
• Dimitrov is bidding to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 SF today. His only previous appearance in the QF of a Masters 1000 came in Monte-Carlo last year (l. to Nadal). 
Haas clinched his first top 10 win in more than a year when he recovered from a set down to defeat world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 in just over two hours. 
• Haas brought his six-match losing streak in Rome to an end with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Andreas Seppi in the 1R, before seeing off Igor Sijsling 7-6(6), 6-1 in the 2R. 
• Haas is making his 11th appearance in Rome. After reaching the final in 2002 (l. to Agassi), the German went on to lose in the 1R in his next five appearances in 2004 (l. to Karlovic), 2005 (l. to Kiefer), 2006 (l. to Monfils), 2007 (l. to Stepanek) and 2013 (l. to Youzhny). 
• Haas’ best performance this season came in Zagreb, where he reached the 28th ATP final of his career (l. to Cilic). He also advanced to the SF in Sao Paulo in February (ret. v Lorenzi due to a right shoulder injury) and in Munich (l. to eventual champion Klizan) earlier this month.
• Haas finished 2013 inside the top 12 for the first time since 2007, winning titles in Munich and Vienna. He was the oldest player to finish the year inside the top 20 since Agassi (35) in 2005. 
• Haas is bidding to reach the SF at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the ninth time (8-8 in QFs) and for the first time since Miami in 2013. 

[5] David Ferrer (ESP) vs [2] Novak Djokovic (SRB)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Djokovic leads 11-5

Ferrer advanced to his 35th ATP Masters 1000 QF with a 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Ernests Gulbis. The No. 3 seed won 85% of points on the Latvian’s second serve (17 of 20) and converted on five of his six BP chances. He broke serve six times as he eased past Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-2 in the 2R.
• Ferrer leads the way in the three return categories this week: points won against first serve (46%), points won against second serve (82%) and return games won (69%; 11 of 16). 
• Ferrer is making his 11th appearance in Rome. He has reached the QF or better here four times. His best run came in 2010 when he defeated three top 10 players en route to the final (l. to Nadal).  
• Ferrer has reached the SF at both ATP Masters 1000 events to be played on clay this year. In Monte Carlo, he ended a 17-match losing streak against Nadal on clay in the QF before falling to eventual champ Wawrinka in the SF. His win over Nadal was his fifth career victory over the reigning world No. 1: vs Nadal (3 times), Djokovic and Agassi. He also became the fourth player to beat Nadal multiple times on clay: Djokovic (3), Gaudio (3) and Federer (2). Last week in Madrid, he advanced to the final four before falling to Nishikori in three sets. 
• Ferrer clinched his 21st ATP World Tour title in Buenos Aires in February when he defeated Fabio Fognini in the final, ending a seven-match losing streak in ATP finals. 
• Ferrer finished the 2013 season at a year-end best No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. It was the third year in a row he finished inside the top five and also the fourth straight year in which he won at least 55 matches. He played an ATP-high 84 matches during the season.
• Ferrer is looking to reach his 15th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 SF (14-20 in QFs) and fourth in Rome (3-1 in QFs here).
Djokovic reached his eighth Rome QF in succession after recovering from a set down to see off Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. The world No. 2 opened his account with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Radek Stepanek in his opening match, winning 73% of points on the Czech’s second serve.  
• Djokovic returns to Rome for the eighth time. He has never fallen before the QF stage here, lifting the title in 2008 (d. Wawrinka) and 2011 (d. Nadal). He fell to Berdych in the QF last year. 
• Djokovic is making his first tournament outing since falling in the Monte-Carlo SF to Federer. The Serb was looking to become the first player to win five ATP Masters 1000 titles in a row as well as the first three Masters 1000 events of the year before falling in the Principality. 
• A right wrist injury, which afflicted him in Monte-Carlo, forced him out of Madrid last week.  
• Djokovic had a successful March in the U.S. The Serb completed the Indian Wells/Miami sweep for the second time in his career, defeating Roger Federer in the BNP Paribas Open final before seeing off Rafael Nadal in the Sony Open Tennis final. He surpassed Andre Agassi in both Masters 1000 titles (18) and Masters 1000 match wins with his Miami victory.
• Djokovic’s other competitive outings this year came at the Australian Open (l. to eventual champ Wawrinka in QF) and Dubai (l. to eventual champ Federer in SF).
• Djokovic finished 2013 in the top three for the seventh year in a row, winning seven titles in nine finals (2nd-most in career). He ended the year on a 24-match winning streak. 
• Djokovic is contesting his 53rd ATP Masters 1000 QF. He is bidding to reach his 41st Masters 1000 SF (40-12 in QFs). He is also looking to reach his fifth SF in Rome (4-3 in QFs here). 

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [7] Andy Murray (GBR)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 13-5

Nadal recovered from a set and 2-0 down to defeat No. 14 seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1, reeling off 11 of the last 12 games. Nadal won just 29% of points behind his second serve (7 of 24). 
• Nadal opened the defence of his title with a 7-6(1), 6-7(4), 6-2 victory over Gilles Simon on Wednesday in three hours and 19 minutes – the longest best-of-three-set match this year. 
• Nadal’s wins over Simon and Youzhny were the longest two matches in Rome this week. 
• Nadal returns to Rome for the 10th time. He has now reached the final in nine of his 10 outings here, winning the title seven times: 2005 (d. Coria), 2006 (d. Federer), 2007 (d. Gonzalez), 2009 (d. Djokovic), 2010 (d. Ferrer), 2012 (d. Djokovic) and 2013 (d. Federer). 
• Nadal opened the season by defeating Gael Monfils to clinch the title in Doha. Qatar was the 17th different country the Spaniard had lifted an ATP title in. 
• Nadal collected his 43rd clay-court title and 62nd overall when he defeated Dolgopolov in the inaugural Rio Open final in February. 
• Nadal arrives in Rome after winning his 27th ATP Masters 1000 title in Madrid last week (d. Nishikori in the F). He took sole ownership of seventh place on the Open Era titles leaderboard with the victory, surpassing Guillermo Vilas
• Nadal appeared in a career-high 14 finals in 2013, winning 10 titles. He returned to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on October 7 and finished the season in top spot for the third time. 
• Nadal has been ranked in the top five longer than any active player (since May 9, 2005) and his total of 62 career titles is the second-best among active players (Federer 77). 
• Nadal is contesting the 64th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF of his career and fourth of the season. He is bidding to reach his 54th Masters 1000 SF (53-10 in QFs) and ninth in Rome (8-0 in QFs). 
Murray celebrated his 27th birthday by reaching his 36th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF, defeating Jurgen Melzer 7-6(1), 6-4. He posted a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Marcel Granollers in his opening match. 
• Murray is making his ninth appearance in Rome. His best showing here came in 2011 when he reached the SF (l. to Djokovic). 
• Murray advanced to his first SF since undergoing back surgery (in September 2013) in Acapulco in February (l. to Dimitrov 7-6 in 3rd set). He subsequently reached the QF in Miami – his third of the year after the Australian Open (l. to Federer) & Rotterdam (l. to Cilic) – before falling to Djokovic.
• This is Murray’s second ATP World Tour event on clay this year, after Madrid (l. to Giraldo in 3R). He has also appeared on clay in Davis Cup, however, posting a 3-1 mark this year. His lone defeat came against Fognini in a 3-2 loss to Italy. 
• Murray finished 2013 in the top four of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the sixth straight season. His year was highlighted by four titles, including a maiden crown at Wimbledon. 
• Murray is bidding to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 SF since Miami last year and his 21st overall. He is also looking to reach his second SF in Rome (1-0 in QFs).

GRANDSTAND

[8] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs Jeremy Chardy (FRA)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Raonic leads 4-0

Raonic advanced to his fourth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF of the season with a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over No. 11 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. In his opening match he defeated home hope Simone Bolelli 6-3, 7-6(5) to notch his first ever win in Rome. 
• Raonic hasn’t had his serve broken, saving three BPs against Bolelli and five against Tsonga. 
• Raonic returns to Rome for the fourth time in as many years. He fell in the 1R on his three previous outings here. 
• Raonic rose to a career high No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after reaching the Monte-Carlo QF last month (l. to eventual champ Wawrinka). The Canadian had climbed back inside the top 10 at the end of March after back-to-back QF appearances in Indian Wells (d. No. 6 Murray, l. to Dolgopolov) and Miami (l. to Nadal). He had previously spent one week at No. 10 in August last year after his run to the final in Montreal. 
• Indian Wells was Raonic’s first outing since suffering a left ankle injury at the Australian Open (l. to Dimitrov in 3R). 
• The top Canadian became the first player from his country and the first player born in the 1990s to crack the top 10 when he broke through on August 12 last year. He finished the season at a year-end high No. 11 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, highlighted by titles in San Jose, Bangkok and a maiden appearance in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Montreal (l. to Nadal). 
• Raonic is contesting his fourth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF of the season and seventh overall. He is bidding to reach his second ever Masters 1000 SF after Montreal last year (d. Pospisil in SF, l. to Nadal in F). He is 1-5 in QFs at this level. 
Chardy didn’t face a single BP as he booked his place in the Rome QF for the first time with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Ivan Dodig. In the 2R, the Frenchman posted his first top 10 win since last year’s Australian Open when he overcame world No. 4 Federer 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(6), saving one MP. 
• Chardy opened with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Robin Haase, saving the two BPs he faced. 
• Chardy has won 83% of points behind his first serve this week (96 of 116).
• Chardy returns to Rome for the fourth time. Prior to this year, his best performance here came last year when he advanced to the 3R before falling to Granollers. 
• Chardy’s season to-date has been highlighted by a SF appearance in Brisbane (l. to Federer) and QF runs on clay in both Vina del Mar (l. to Fognini) and Buenos Aires (l. to Almagro).
• Chardy finished 2013 inside the top 50 for the fourth time in five years, reaching a personal-best world No. 25 in January after his first Grand Slam QF in Australia.
• Chardy is now 8-28 lifetime against top 10 opposition and 1-6 this year after his win over Federer.
• Chardy is bidding to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 SF. His only two previous QF outings at Masters 1000 level came in Toronto 2010 (l. to Djokovic) and Cincinnati 2012 (l. to Del Potro).

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