Federer, Nadal lead top eight into quarters

MONTREAL: Roger Federer captured his 21st consecutive match win as he booked a quarter-final berth at the Montreal Masters and stayed on course for a finals showdown with Rafael Nadal.

Top-seeded Federer avenged a spring loss to fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) victory. Second seed Nadal gave his fragile confidence a huge boost with a 6-3, 6-2 win over German Philipp Petzschner.

The two led an historic parade of the top eight seeds into the into the quarters of the three million-dollar tournament — the first time since the rankings began in 1973 that the top eight players in the world have all reached the quarters at the same ATP event.

Wawrinka, who played alongside Federer to win the Beijing Olympic doubles gold medal, had beaten his celebrated compatriot in the third round at Monte Carlo in April. Wawrinka made Federer work for this one, saving four match points in the tiebreaker before missing a low volley at the net to exit after one and three-quarters hours.

Federer will next play Frenchman and Swiss resident Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the seventh seed who beat compatriot Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-3. Federer has won his last three tournaments dating to May in Madrid.

After claiming the first set with a forehand to the corner, Federer had trouble closing out the victory a set later. A 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker almost went for nought as Wawrinka fought back at the end. Federer beat Tsonga in their only meeting at Madrid, 2008.

Nadal showed some signs of nerves with a double-fault on his first match point, but fired home a winner on his second try. Nadal will face Argentinian sixth seed Juan Martin Del Potro, who rallied to beat Victor Hanescu of Romania 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Third seed Andy Murray stayed in touch with his dream of seizing the world number two ranking from Nadal, stopping Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-1, 6-3. Murray needs to reach the semi-finals, and also hope that defending champion Nadal does not progress into the final four. Murray will play eighth-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko, a 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 winner over Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, seeded fourth, reached the last eight with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Russian Mikhail Youzhny. Djokovic won this event two years ago in Montreal, while Nadal won last year in Toronto as the event alternates between the cities.

Andy Roddick, seeded fifth, came good after Fernando Verdasco saved two match points, with the American beating the tenth-seeded Spaniard 7-6 (7/2), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5). Roddick will next meet Djokovic after winning their last two meetings, including January’s Australian Open quarter-finals.