Federer dumped out as Nadal, Djokovic advance

Updated: 2011-05-13 16:24
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Federer dumped out as Nadal, Djokovic advance

Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts during his match against Richard Gasquet of France at the Rome Masters tennis tournament May 12, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

* Nadal makes last-minute decision to play

* Djokovic extends unbeaten run for season to 34 matches

ROME - Roger Federer failed to make the quarterfinals of a tournament for the first time in a year on Thursday while Rafa Nadal returned to form in the third round of the Rome Masters despite almost withdrawing with a fever.

Novak Djokovic then stretched his unbeaten run for the year to 34 matches after winning eight of the last nine games against Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka to triumph 6-4 6-1.

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Third-seed Federer took the first set 6-4 against France's Richard Gasquet but, in a match of clean-hitting strokes, lost the next two sets against the 16th seed on tiebreaks (7-2, 7-4).

World number four Andy Murray, Robin Soderling, Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych, Croat Marin Cilic and German Florian Mayer also made it through to the last eight.

"I should never have lost this match," world number three Federer, knocked out by Ernests Gulbis in the second round in Rome last year, told reporters.

"He knows how close he came to losing. I had multiple chances but I couldn't make the difference."

The Swiss, who had won the last eight matches between the two, broke serve in the very first game but Gasquet responded with 10 straight points to draw level at 2-2.

The long thrilling rallies had both players covering every bit of the court but it was Federer who broke again in the seventh game with two sweet forehands to take the set.

Gasquet, whose one victory against Federer had come on clay at Monte Carlo in 2005, fought back by trouncing the tired-looking Swiss in the second set tieback with a backhand winner before a flourishing crosscourt forehand.

With games going with serve in the deciding set, Gasquet again showed a steelier side, forcing Federer into two top-spin backhand errors in another confident tiebreak to take the scalp.

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