Murray eases into quarterfinals

Murray eases into quarterfinals

Murray eases into quarterfinals

Defending champion Andy Murray sealed his place in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters on Thursday with a 6-4, 6-2 win over 16th seed Gilles Simon. Murray will face Thomas Berdych or David Ferrer in the last eight on Friday.

"After the first six or seven games I really started to hit the ball well," said Murray."I served well throughout the match. It was a good performance."

The two-time Grand Slam champion extends his impressive record over Simon to 14-2, but wasn't pushed as hard as he often has been in the past by the Frenchman as he didn't even face a break point in just over an hour-and-a-half on court.

Murray pounced on a series of Simon errors to seal the only break of the first set in the final game.

However, the Scot was far more dominant in the second as his power and variation from the back of the court allowed him to race into a 3-0 lead before breaking again to seal his place in the last eight.

World number six Kei Nishikori continued his fine form on the clay in Spain to reach the last eight with a 6-4, 7-5 win over 10th seed Richard Gasquet. Nishikori lost out to Nadal in the final of the Barcelona Open two weeks ago and will meet Australian Nick Kyrgios or Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas in the quarters after registering his first win over Gasquet in seven attempts.

The Japanese survived a blip when he missed out on two match points on his own serve before being broken at 5-4 in the second. However, he responded immediately to break the Gasquet serve for the fourth time in the match before serving it out at the second attempt.

In the women's Madrid Open, the only remaining seed Simona Halep was victorious in an all-Romanian quarterfinal against Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 0-6, 6-1.

Halep -- a finalist in Madrid in 2014 -- will face another Romanian Patricia Maria Tig or former US Open champion Sam Stosur in the last four. American qualifier Louisa Chirico also continued her fairytale run to reach the semifinals.

Chirico, ranked 130 in the world, beat Australian Daria Gavrilova 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 to reach her first ever WTA semifinal where she will face Dominika Cibulkova or Sorana Cristea.