MADRID — Rafael Nadal reached the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters, beating big-serving John Isner of the United States 7-5, 6-4 on Thursday.
Isner, who reached the clay final in Belgrade last weekend, held his own against the second-seeded Spaniard before losing his serve in the 11th game of the first set, during which he received treatment on his arm.
Nadal served out for the set and broke the American early in the second before holding serve for the victory.
„It was a very dangerous and difficult match and I played well, and when I had chances with the return I took them,” said Nadal. „For me it was a very important victory.”
Nadal came into the Madrid Masters on the back of tournament wins in Monte Carlo and Rome. The 2005 champion and 2009 finalist hopes to break a tie with Andre Agassi for the most Masters series titles (17).
Another favorite to win the tournament, third-seeded Andy Murray of Britain, had little trouble beating Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-2, 6-1.
Earlier, Fernando Verdasco’s 7-5, 6-3 third-round loss to Jurgen Melzer of Austria left only three of the top six seeds in the tournament.
With the center court’s retractable roof closed due to rain, the sixth-seeded Spaniard looked well below his best and had treatment on his right ankle after the first set.
Melzer broke early in the second set before Verdasco broke back to 3-3. Melzer took the next three games to clinch his second victory over Verdasco in seven attempts and reach his fifth quarterfinal this season.
A frustrated Verdasco said his ankle was hurting after he injured it in the previous round against Ivo Karlovic, although he said the match conditions also bothered him.
„I haven’t played indoors for months and I’ve never had the opportunity to train here with the roof closed – I think it gave him the advantage,” he said. „He’s more of an indoor player than an outdoor player, which also went against me. The court also wasn’t in the best condition, which made me miss certain shots that were very important.”
Melzer will next play Nicolas Almagro of Spain, ensuring there will be at least one unseeded player in the semifinals. Almagro beat Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-4, 6-1.
In the women’s third round, eighth-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia beat Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 7-6 (3), 6-2 to set up a quarterfinal with Venus Williams.
„It’s Venus so you have to expect a good match,” Stosur said. „Clay probably isn’t her favorite surface. We’ve played a few times and I’ve never been able to win so it’s one of those times when I have to go out there and give it my best shot.”
Li Na of China beat Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4 and Shahar Peer of Israel defeated Arantxa Parra Santonja of Spain 7-5, 6-2.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Nadal puts away Isner to reach Madrid quarters

MADRID — Rafael Nadal reached the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters, beating big-serving John Isner of the United States 7-5, 6-4 on Thursday.
Isner, who reached the clay final in Belgrade last weekend, held his own against the second-seeded Spaniard before losing his serve in the 11th game of the first set, during which he received treatment on his arm.
Nadal served out for the set and broke the American early in the second before holding serve for the victory.
„It was a very dangerous and difficult match and I played well, and when I had chances with the return I took them,” said Nadal. „For me it was a very important victory.”
Nadal came into the Madrid Masters on the back of tournament wins in Monte Carlo and Rome. The 2005 champion and 2009 finalist hopes to break a tie with Andre Agassi for the most Masters series titles (17).
Another favorite to win the tournament, third-seeded Andy Murray of Britain, had little trouble beating Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-2, 6-1.
Earlier, Fernando Verdasco’s 7-5, 6-3 third-round loss to Jurgen Melzer of Austria left only three of the top six seeds in the tournament.
With the center court’s retractable roof closed due to rain, the sixth-seeded Spaniard looked well below his best and had treatment on his right ankle after the first set.
Melzer broke early in the second set before Verdasco broke back to 3-3. Melzer took the next three games to clinch his second victory over Verdasco in seven attempts and reach his fifth quarterfinal this season.
A frustrated Verdasco said his ankle was hurting after he injured it in the previous round against Ivo Karlovic, although he said the match conditions also bothered him.
„I haven’t played indoors for months and I’ve never had the opportunity to train here with the roof closed – I think it gave him the advantage,” he said. „He’s more of an indoor player than an outdoor player, which also went against me. The court also wasn’t in the best condition, which made me miss certain shots that were very important.”
Melzer will next play Nicolas Almagro of Spain, ensuring there will be at least one unseeded player in the semifinals. Almagro beat Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-4, 6-1.
In the women’s third round, eighth-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia beat Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 7-6 (3), 6-2 to set up a quarterfinal with Venus Williams.
„It’s Venus so you have to expect a good match,” Stosur said. „Clay probably isn’t her favorite surface. We’ve played a few times and I’ve never been able to win so it’s one of those times when I have to go out there and give it my best shot.”
Li Na of China beat Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4 and Shahar Peer of Israel defeated Arantxa Parra Santonja of Spain 7-5, 6-2.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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