27-year-old unorthodox Florian Mayer  – the best German player at the moment – had never won a match in Rome prior to this week. Today he advanced for the first time in life to the quarter-finals of a ‘Masters 1000’ tournament, beating 7-5, 6-4 the Argentinian veteran Juan Ignacio Chela . Mayer will reach the highest position in career next Monday. Thomas Berdych  in contrary to Mayer, reaches quarterfinals of the biggest events regularly (this year lost quarterfinals in Melbourne, Miami and Madrid). The Czech dismissed ‘lucky loser’ Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-2 in 2 hours 41 minutes, being two points away from a 6-2, 6-4 win on Nieminen’s serve. Marin Cilic  took an advantage of the favorable draw to book his berth in the last 8 of a ‘Masters 1000’ tournament on clay for the first time. Cilic last night outplayed Carlos Berlocq, who replaced injured David Ferrer; today the Croat had problems only in the 1st set against a tired Mardy Fish – the American spent more than 4 hours on court yesterday: 3 hours in singles (against Ljubicic), later on 1:15 in doubles (won a titanic super tie-break 19-17 along with Andy Roddick).
18-year-old Richard Gasquet  defeated Roger Federer at the Monte Carlo quarterfinal six years ago in their first encounter, saving three match points. Since then, Federer won their all eight meetings, dropping just two sets in the process. Today the Swiss seemed to be on the right track to notch the ninth straight victory over the Frenchman – after comfortable 6-4 in the 1st set, led 4:2* in the 2nd set. Gasquet broke back, saved a double mini-match point at 4:4, and played a fantastic tie-break. Neither player had a chance to break the opponent’s serve in the 3rd set (no ‘deuces’, only one game won to ’30’!) and a deciding tie-break was required… Gasquet played it with bigger risk and produced crucial winners to lead 3:1 (backhand DTL) and 5:3 (forehand cross-court). Federer hasn’t reached at least quarterfinal for the first time since last years Rome (lost in the second round to Gulbis) and for the third time in career has been beaten by a Frenchman with two losing tie-breaks! # Curiosity: Federer began the match winning 10 first points, Gasquet won the next 10! “I did a very good match for sure and as you can imagine I am very happy to beat Roger,” said Gasquet. “This does not happen so many times so I have to enjoy it. His forehand is very fast and the court today is very fast and very difficult conditions, but I tried to play good as I had nothing to lose and this is very important. I cannot play my game with a lot of pressure.“
# Federer’s 3-set defeats with two losing tie-breaks: