Seeds avoid slip-ups in tricky conditions at Artois
Thrills and spills at Queen's as damp conditions prove treacherous, but the big names reach the quarters
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both overcame tricky encounters in the third round on a damp day at the Artois Championships to reach the quarter-finals.
Top seed Nadal was given a stern test against 18-year-old Kei Nishikori, before coming through 6-4 3-6 6-3. The French Open champion will now face No.8 seed Ivo Karlovic, who beat Fernando Gonzalez 6-3 7-5 in bizarre circumstances.
Gonzalez was given a warning in the first set for ball abuse and received a point penalty for racquet abuse as Karlovic served for the first set at 5-3.
With the second set seemingly heading towards a tie-break, Gonzalez was broken at 5-5. In his frustration, the Chilean earned himself another penalty for ball abuse and conceded the final game to Karlovic without the Croat hitting a ball.
World No.3 Novak Djokovic had to come back from a set down in his first meeting with fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic. Djokovic eventually dug out a 2-6 6-1 6-4 win and faces four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt, who beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4 6-4 in the quarters.
Defending champion Andy Roddick, however, found himself in the quarter-finals in unfortunate circumstances after Mardy Fish was forced to retire at the end of the first set with an ankle injury.
Roddick, who has now won 25 of his 27 matches at Queens, will face British No.1 Andy for a spot in the semi-finals, should the Scot recover from a thumb injury.
Murray progressed after surviving various injury scares and an in-form Ernests Gulbis in the third round.
Murray had treatment for thumb, neck and groin injuries during the match before battling to a 5-7 6-1 6-4 victory to reach the quarter-finals at Queens for the first time.
Elsewhere, David Nalbandian sent last year’s Artois runner-up Nicolas Mahut out, thrashing the Frenchman 6-4 6-1.
No.5 seed Richard Gasquet produced an excellent display to post a 7-6(5) 6-4 win over Croatian Mario Ancic.