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Nadal advances in q-finals as Murray, Serena pull out

nadalROME: Number four seed Rafael Nadal admitted suffering from the Real Madrid blues as he advanced to the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Thursday with a straight-sets win over American John Isner. Nadal came into the event looking to make amends for his defeat to Andy Murray in the final of the Madrid Masters last week, when the Scot took his victory streak to a remarkable 10 wins out of 10 on clay this season. The Spaniard’s hopes of seeing his beloved Real Madrid go all the way in the Champions League, however, were kept in check when the record 10-time champions were ousted from the semi-finals of the competition by Juventus on Wednesday.

While Nadal now meets Swiss Stan Wawrinka, who beat Dominic Thiem 7-6 (6/3), 6-4, for a place in the semi-finals, he admits-at least publicly-he will be sitting on the fence when Real’s arch-rivals Barcelona take on Juventus in the June 6 final of Europe’s premier club competition in Berlin. “I’ve lost a lot of times, and Real Madrid lost yesterday. That’s just part and parcel of sport,” said the Spaniard, who beat Isner 6-4, 6-4 to extend his winning streak over the tall, big-serving American to 6-0. “I have a good friend at Juventus in Fernando Llorente - I will be happy for him - and also Alvaro Morata. “At the end of the day, if Barcelona win I will be happy for them, but if Juventus win I will also be happy because I have friends there as well.” In the meantime, Nadal said he was happy with his game but said he was not “consistent enough” to be considered the main favourite for the French Open next month, when he will be bidding for a record 10th title in Paris. Andy Murray and Serena Williams pulled out of the Italian Open yesterday 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 told a news conference ahead of his match against Belgian David Goffin. “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 backto- back tournaments in Munich and Madrid, the first claycourt titles of his career. —Agencies

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This article was published on 14/05/2015