Rafa sets up Wawrinka showdown, Murray survives

Published by Reuters

Rafael Nadal celebrates his victory over Dominic Thiem in the third round of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters; Getty Images

Eight-time Monte Carlo champion Rafa Nadal was made to work hard by Dominic Thiem before advancing to the last eight of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters.

Nadal recorded a 7-5 6-3 win over Austrian Dominic Thiem, who wasted 15 of 16 break points in the opening set.

The Spaniard will next face Stan Wawrinka after the Swiss, who won the claycourt Masters in 2014, demolished Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-1 6-2.

“From the start I was very strict with myself. I had to keep my tactics, be patient, attack him whenever I had the opportunity,” said fourth seed Wawrinka.

“My concentration was very good. This is important against Gilles. From the start I needed to dominate and be very present on the court. I succeeded in doing that.”

Third seed Roger Federer, back in action after a 10-week layoff, eased past Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2 6-4.

The Swiss will next face Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat compatriot Lucas Pouille.

Another Frenchman, 13th seed Gael Monfils, ended the run of Novak Djokovic’s conqueror Vesely with a 6-1 6-2 win.

Menawhile, Andy Murray avoided following Novak Djokovic out of the exit door after surviving a scare against local favourite Benoit Paire.

Murray reached the quarterfinals with a 2-6 7-5 7-5 victory on Thursday.

The world No.2 looked in trouble against Paire before eventually subduing his opponent to set up a meeting with Canadian Milos Raonic.

Murray was 5-4 down in the third set when Paire cracked under pressure and lost the remaining three games to hand victory to the Briton.

“I panicked. It’s the biggest disappointment of my career,” said Paire, who won the first set easily and was two breaks up in the second before Murray fought back.

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