Coria, Safin advance to quarter-finals

Associated Press

Monte Carlo, April 22:

Guillermo Coria advanced to the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals after beating Andrei Pavel 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in third round.

The diminutive Argentine put in an inconsistent display on centre court, hitting only 17 winners and making 25 unforced errors against his muscular but slow-paced Romanian opponent.

Only toward the end of the deciding set did No 3 Coria, who on clay is 8-0 this year and unbeaten in 23 matches, start to play his natural game. His superior touch and timing had Pavel scrambling all around the court.

Marat Safin, the US Open champion in 2000, also progressed with a smooth 6-4, 6-2 win over lucky loser Wayne Arthurs of Australia and was rarely troubled.

Safin broke Arthurs early on in both sets and held his own serve throughout. The Russian unleashed some thumping forehands late in the match to finish off his opponent and next meets Alberto Martin.

In contrast to Safin, Spaniard Martin laboured for 2 hours, 25 minutes before grinding out a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 win over Argentine Agustin Calleri.

Nikolay Davydenko of Russia also advanced, profiting from his superior serve to comfortably beat Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 6-2, 6-2. In a late match, Argentina’s David Nalbandian cruised into the quarters with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Frenchman Fabrice Santoro.