Rafael Nadal cruised past compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-1 to reach the Rome Masters quarter-finals yesterday.

The World no 3, who was runner-up to Novak Djokovic last year, will face Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych for a place in the semi-finals. Djokovic, meanwhile, defeated Argentina’s Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

On the women’s side, top seed Victoria Azarenka faces a French Open fitness battle after a right shoulder injury forced her to withdraw before her third-round match against Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova. Wimbledon winner and fourth seed Petra Kvitova battled to overcome Romanian Sorona Cirstea 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. Earlier, the Williams sisters registered comfortable victories. Venus beat Samantha Stosur 6-4, 6-3, while Serena defeated Anabel Garrigues 6-3, 6-1. 


Paes-Stepanek crash out in Rome 
Fifth seed Indo-Czech pair of Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek lost to Polish-Serbian pair Lukasz Kubot and Janko Tipsarevic 2-6, 5-7 in the pre-quarter-finals of the Rome Masters here yesterday.