No problems for Nadal, Djokovic, Murray

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Thursday's Madrid Open action went very much to form as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal all advanced with a minimum of fuss.

Djokovic, a champion at this ATP 1000 event back in 2011, was the most convincing of the three as he saw off Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2 6-1 in 68 minutes.

Murray, who defeated Nadal in the showpiece 12 months ago, had already booked his place in the quarter-finals by the time Djokovic took to the court, having seen off Gilles Simon 6-4 6-2 earlier in the day.

And clay-court king Nadal followed suit, although he had to fight back from 4-1 down in the first set before getting the better of Sam Querrey 6-4 6-2 to the delight of the home crowd.

 

MURRAY SERVING UP A TREAT

The world number two was especially pleased with the way his service game was working in his defeat of Simon.

"My second serve has improved a lot this year," said Murray. "The pace on the serve is probably 15km an hour faster than it was at this time last year. I am getting a lot more kick on the ball. In my match against Radek Stepanek, I hit my second serve well too. He just returned unbelievably well at times and I still won 55 per cent of my second serve points, which is good."

 

DJOKOVIC READY FOR ROLAND GARROS

The French Open is the one title missing from Djokovic's collection to complete a career grand slam, and the Serb is feeling confident about his chances after another impressive clay-court display against Bautista Agut.

"I'd be lying if I said that I cannot get there and I do not think myself able," he said. "I have always believed, for months. But the season is long and it would not be very wise to project myself and talk about the grand slam. It would also be disrespectful to other tournaments, such as Madrid."

 

SELFIE CENTRAL FOR KYRGIOS

After outlasting Pablo Cuevas 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3, Kyrgios' work was not done as he stopped to pose for selfies with several fans as he left the court.

 

NADAL ON THE HUNT FOR A FAMOUS FIFTH

Having visited the Santiago Bernabeu to see his team Real Madrid reach the Champions League final with a win over Manchester City on Wednesday, Nadal was back in more familiar surroundings against Querrey a day later.

The 'King of Clay' was initially stunned as his American opponent started brightly, but Nadal's sheer force of will hauled him back into the match before he showed his class in the second set as he looks for a fifth Madrid Open crown.
 


BLOCKBUSTER QUARTERS BEGIN

Djokovic will now take on Milos Raonic in the pick of Friday's quarter-finals, while Nadal will meet Joao Sousa and Murray is up against Tomas Berdych.

The other last-eight clash pits Nick Kyrgios against Kei Nishikori.