World number one Rafael Nadal made it 34 unbeaten matches at the Monte Carlo Masters as he progressed to the quarter finals with a straight-set victory against Frenchman Richard Gasquet in Monaco.
Nadal broke Gasquet early in the first set, and battled through in the second to earn a 6-2 6-4 win and will now face Ivan Ljubicic who saw off fifth seed Tomas Berdych 6-4 6-2.
Elsewhere, second seed Roger Federer fought off Croatian Marin Cilic 6-4 6-3 and will face seventh seed Jurgen Melzer in the next round.
Nadal gained the advantaged in the very first game of the match after breaking Gasquet. However, his own service game gave him trouble as he had to fight off several deuces before going up 2-0. Though Gasquet played some good shots, there was no stopping Nadal who broke him again at 4-2, before he took the set in under 44 minutes.
In the second, Gasquet did well to hold serve at 2-2 but couldn't manage it a second time when in his next service game, Nadal lifted a forehand to take his second break point and go up 4-3. Gasquet wasn't going down without a fight though and he leveled the scores when he forced a break point and took it. At 4-4 though, Nadal stepped up a gear and earned two break points, broke back and went on to serve out the set and reach the quarters.
Afterwards, Nadal spoke of his form. I think I played better than yesterday, easier. In general, I think it was a very positive victory against a very difficult opponent. I feel when I'm playing well with the forehand, it is a very important shot for me, and so I can have the control of the point most of the time. When I am playing well with the forehand, everything is a little bit less difficult.
World number three Roger Federer had a relatively harder time against Croatian Marin Cilic, though he eventually ran out a comfortable winner.
The two traded blows in the opening set and it seemed as though a tie-breaker would have to separate them. However, a flurry of unforced errors from the Croat at 5-4 saw Federer take the set 6-4. The two continued holding serve in the second until an exquisite backhand from the Swiss saw him secure the break in the sixth game. He then held serve and went onto to progress.
Federer was happy with his display and with the in-form Novak Djokovic out with injury, this could be Federer's chance to win his second title of the year.
Today was another solid performance, which I'm very happy about, he said.I think I was consistent and didn't allow him to get into the points he wanted to on my own serve. The first set was close until he had that loose game. He can be dangerous, so I'm pleased to go through.