Nadal into Madrid quarters after Del Potro withdrawal
Madrid: World number one Rafa Nadal moved into the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open without hitting a shot on Thursday after his third-round opponent Juan Martin Del Potro withdrew from the clay event with a hip injury.
The Spanish top seed was joined in the last eight by in-form Serb Novak Djokovic and Swiss former world number one Roger Federer, the second and third seeds, who breezed past Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Xavier Malisse respectively.
Djokovic took his winning streak since the beginning of the year to 29 matches with a 6-1 6-2 success against Spaniard Garcia-Lopez, equalling Ivan Lendl`s mark from 1986, the third best season start on record after John McEnroe in 1984 (42) and Bjorn Borg four years earlier (33).
Federer, who had to save a match point to get past Feliciano Lopez on Wednesday, beat Belgian Malisse 6-4 6-3.
Nadal is bidding for a third clay title in less than a month after his victories at the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open last month.
The 24-year-old Mallorcan has a phenomenal record on clay since 2005 of 187 wins and only six defeats and is the defending champion at the Magic Box arena in the Spanish capital.
His opponent in the last eight will be the winner of Thursday`s third-round match between unseeded Frenchman Michael Llodra and Spanish qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
Djokovic will face sixth seed David Ferrer, who lost to Nadal in the Monte Carlo and Barcelona finals, or Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, while Federer meets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, another Frenchman, or Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling.
Thursday`s remaining two third-round matches are between fourth-seeded Briton Andy Murray and Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci and Czech Tomas Berdych, the seventh seed, and Juan Monaco of Argentina.