Nadal suffers rare defeat on clay

Nadal suffers rare defeat on clay

Bhupathi-Bopanna in quarters

Rafael Nadal suffered his first claycourt defeat in 23 matches on Thursday and threatened to boycott next year's Madrid Open if officials did not ditch the blue clay that players have labelled "too slippery" and only fit for "smurfs (to) play on".

After a shock 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 third-round defeat by fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, the French Open champion vowed not to return to the Masters event unless traditional red courts, which are slower and more suited to his game, were reinstated.  "I tried my best to prepare but I wasn't good enough to adapt my game to this court. The only thing that I know is that if things continue like this I am very sad but next year will be one less tournament in my calendar."

Verdasco next plays Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who was the first player into the last eight when he thrashed 12th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-1. He was joined by Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov, the 16th seed, who edged out French fourth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 3-6, 7-6. Juan Martin Del Potro thumped Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-2, 6-4.

World number three Roger Federer had to use all his guile and experience to battle back from a set down to see off fast-rising Canadian Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 in the second round on Wednesday.

Serena Williams overcame a lethargic start to upset fellow former world number one Caroline Wozniacki on Thursday, setting up a quarterfinal meeting with old foe Maria Sharapova at the Madrid Open.

The ninth seed powered to a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Dane. Williams will meet second seed Sharapova, who progressed without hitting a shot in the morning after unseeded Czech Lucie Safarova pulled out with a gastro-intestinal illness.

Hesh-Bops advance

India’s Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi reached the men’s doubles quarterfinals defeating Santiago Gonzalez and Christopher Kas.

The seventh seeded Indian pair defeated the Mexican-German combine 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) in the pre-quarterfinals on Wednesday.

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