Nole Djokovic progressed with ease, whilst Rafa Nadal turned around the match against Gulbis. They are to play Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer respectively in the Rome Masters 2013 QFs.
Defending champion Nadal was put under a lot of pressure by his unseeded challenger Ernests Gulbis of Latvia and could only win after two hours and forty minutes spent on the court. The fifth seed Spaniard was practically blown off the court in the first set where he was broken two times in a row, allowing the Latvian to build a 5-0 lead. The six-time Rome winner got on the board after the next game, but the first set was already out of his reach by then. In the second one Nadal failed to serve out the set at 5-3 and wasted three set balls at 5-4 before he finally leveled the terms by breaking Gulbis in the twelfth game. The Spaniard then failed to confirm his first break in the decider, yet he clinched another one when Gulbis was serving to stay at the tournament. In the end, Nadal reached the quarterfinal stage with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory despite a 15-0 ace record in the Latvian’s favor. The king of clay thus beat Gulbis for the sixth time in six matches.
Nadal will now meet fellow-Spaniard Ferrer who was given a walkover as Philipp Kohschreiber withdrew before the match because of vertigo.
Top seed Djokovic was in a superb form in the third round as he held all of his serves in the match against Ukrainian Aleksandr Dolgopolov whom he broke twice in the opener and one time in the second set. He progressed with 6-1, 6-4 after merely one hour of tennis. The two-time Rome title holder will square off against Berdych next.
The aforementioned Czech also dealt with his third round rival Kevin Andreson of South Africa in straight sets. Despite suffering a loss of serve first, he recovered quickly enough to make it 4-all before seizing another break as well as the opening set in the twelfth game. In the second set sixth-seeded Berdych pulled off a four straight games run after 2-2 and wrapped up the match after one hour and twenty-five minutes of play. End result: 7-5, 6-2.
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