Madrid – 3R

Unpredictable Michael Llodra [27] at the age of 31, not only achieved arguably the biggest clay-court success in his career, but also very likely will reach the highest singles position next Monday. The left-handed Frenchman, one of very few serve-and-volley specialists, took an advantage of extremely favorable draw en route to the Mutua Madrid quarterfinal. In the first round he ousted Sam ‘out-of-form’ Querrey, in the second qualifier Flavio Cipolla, for whom it was the best result at this level, in the third round another qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver [61], producing perhaps the best comeback in his career: after losing the 1st set 1-6, Llodra was *3:4 (30-30) in the 2nd set, and two points away from defeat at *5:6 (0-30) in the 3rd set. In the deciding tie-break Llodra obtained a mini-break in the very first point (Gimeno’s unforced error) and the next 10 points went with serve – Llodra prevailed 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(4).
Thomaz Bellucci [36] stunned Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, with heavy forehand topspins from the back of the court. Murray never broke his opponent, having only three break points in the entire match. Bellucci has advanced to the last 8 of a “Masters 1000′ tournament for the first time in career. “I had to be solid, but at the same time, play aggressively, without letting him take all the control in the match,” stated happy Brazilian.
Novak Djokovic keeps his impressive form outplaying 6-1, 6-2 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in just 52 minutes. Djokovic lost only two points on serve (!) in the quickest third round encounter – 6 out of 8 games won to “love”. “[My] confidence is obviously very high and at this stage it plays an important role in my game and I’m trying to use it to continue this winning streak,” said Nole, unbeaten in 29 consecutive matches this year.
Juan Martin del Potro came to Madrid from Estoril in championship glory with a hip problem, but managed to win two matches in Spain. He decided though, that  wasn’t fit enough to conquer “king of clay” Rafael Nadal. DelPo withdrew from the anticipated meeting and explained: “I want to play as soon as I can and it would be a very nice match for me to play today. I really feel sad for that. It’s a nice tournament, nice people here, nice fans but I can’t.”

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