Top guns advance in Paris

Paris, October 31:

US star Andy Roddick clinched his season-ending Shanghai Masters Cup berth on Thursday, while World No 1 Rafael Nadal, second-ranked Roger Federer and Andy Murray joined him in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters.

Roddick beat Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 7-5, Nadal swamped French hope Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2, fourth seed Murray defeated Spanish Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) and Federer knocked over Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-4 to respect the form book.

Nadal was never in serious trouble as he staved off a triple break point to land the first set and then did likewise in the fourth game of the second set to put Monfils firmly in his place.

The Spaniard next meets either sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia or Czech Tomas Berdych in a battle of former champions.

Roddick’s qualification for China means two of eight Shanghai spots remain open. American James Blake and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are waiting in the wings after making the Paris quarters. Tsonga shocked Novak Djokovic of Serbia 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

Murray earned a meeting with Argentine defending champion David Nalbandian after Verdasco had taken the Scot to a second-set tiebreak on a fast-playing court one. Blake, a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Philipp Kohlschreiber, is hoping to edge Tsonga out of a place in Shanghai.

Bell Challenge

QUEBEC CITY: Fifth-seeded Aleksandra Wozniak delighted home fans with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over US qualifier Carly Gullickson to reach the quarter-finals of the WTA Bell Challenge. Wozniak, vying to become the first Canadian to reach the championship match in the 15-year history of the $175,000 Tier Three tournament, is in the midst of a career year. Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva prevented an all-Canadian matchup in the quarter-finals with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over qualifier Rebecca Marino.

In the only other match involving a seeded player, France’s Nathalie Dechy upset seventh-seeded Olga Govortsova 6-1, 7-5. Dechy, a two-time semi-finalist here, is looking for her first title of the season after finishing as the runner-up at Cincinnati in August. She will next face US lucky loser Angela Haynes, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Severine Bremond of France.

The tournament’s top seed, Russian Nadia Petrova, booked her quarter-final berth on Wednesday and will face Hungarian Melinda Czink. In the remaining quarter-final, sixth-seeded Bethanie Mattek of the United States will take on compatriot Melanie Oudin.