Nadal leads 5 Spaniards into Monte Carlo quarters

MONACO (AP) — Rafael Nadal stayed on course for his sixth straight Monte Carlo Masters title, routing Germany's Michael Berrer 6-0, 6-1 Thursday to join two-time former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and three other Spaniards in the quarterfinals.

Nadal, seeded second, extended his winning run at the tournament to 29 matches and has not lost at Monte Carlo since 2003. He beat Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker by the same score in the second round Wednesday.

Nadal looked to be heading for a perfect score until Berrer won a game when serving at 5-0 down in the second set, prompting huge cheers.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia also reached the quarters. He defeated 13th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4. Djokovic, who lost to Nadal in last year's final, next plays Argentina's David Nalbandian.

Nadal gets Ferrero, who struggled past No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-1, 3-6, 7-5. Ferrero, the Monte Carlo champion in 2002 and 2003 and French Open champ in 2003, has won two titles this year.

"I played better than yesterday," Nadal said. "I played higher, I played close to the lines and my feeling is I had more control on the ball than yesterday."

Ferrero has won just two of his previous eight meetings against Nadal. The last matchup was on clay in the second round of the Rome Masters two years ago. Nadal, the four-time French Open champion, leads Ferrero 4-1 on clay.

"I will try to play very aggressive with my forehand to his backhand, and then I will try not to make a lot of mistakes," Ferrero said.

Earlier, sixth-seeded Fernando Verdasco, No. 11 David Ferrer and Albert Montanes all won third-round matches.

Verdasco rallied from a set down to beat No. 10 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-3, 6-2; Ferrer beat No. 8 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 6-0, 7-6 (4); and Montanes won 6-4, 6-4 against No. 4 Marin Cilic, dominating the big-serving Croat from the baseline.

Nalbandian ended the Spanish streak of victories when he beat No. 12 Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-4. Even though he had played for nearly three hours against Mikhail Youzhny late into Wednesday night, Nalbandian was light on his feet against Robredo.

Verdasco plays Montanes in an all-Spanish quarterfinal. Ferrer plays Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 6-4 in an all-German match.