Nadal cruises in Rome but Murray, Serena pull out

Spaniard reaches quarters of Rome Masters but Murray and Serena forced to withdraw ahead of third-round matches.

    Nadal has fallen to seventh in the world rankings [Getty Images]
    Nadal has fallen to seventh in the world rankings [Getty Images]

    Rafa Nadal produced an "almost perfect" display as he booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters with a 6-4 6-4 victory over John Isner.

    The fourth-seed, who has struggled to find his best form this season in the wake of the wrist injury and appendicitis issues that undermined him last year, was imperious against the big-serving American.

    He did not face a single break point and won 90 percent of his first-service points.

    "I was almost perfect," Nadal told Sky Sports Italia. "It was a good match, I'm satisfied."

    The Spaniard, who fell to seventh in the rankings after Sunday's final defeat to Andy Murray in Madrid, looked to be back on the path to discovering his best claycourt form.

    Nadal, a seven-time champion in Rome, will face the winner of Stanislas Wawrinka's match against Dominic Thiem.

    In the women's event, the second seed Simona Halep easily downed Venus Williams 6-2 6-1 in just over an hour while Eugenie Bouchard double faulted on match point, before losing a three-hour battle to Carla Suarez Navarro 6-7, 7-5, 7-6.

    Murray, Serena withdrawal 

    Murray and Serena Williams pulled out of the tournament ahead of their third-round matches.

    Murray said he was tired, while Williams claimed she was suffering with an elbow injury.

    "I practiced 40 minutes and felt pretty exhausted," Murray said. "It didn't make sense for me to keep going because when you feel like this it becomes a risk to play."

    Murray recently won back-to-back tournaments in Munich and Madrid, the first claycourt titles of his career.

    Serena, who has won the tournament for the last two years, cited a right elbow injury as the reason for her withdrawal.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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