MADRID – Novak Djokovic extended his season-opening winning streak to 29 matches on Thursday at the Madrid Open, equaling the best start in men's tennis since Ivan Lendl in 1986.
The Australian Open champion won all 21 of his first service points to beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 6-2 and advance to the quarterfinals, where he was joined by fellow third-round winner Roger Federer and top-ranked Rafael Nadal, who advanced after opponent Juan Martin del Potro withdrew with a hip injury.
Djokovic, who is 31-0 since last year's Davis Cup final, is now tied for third with Lendl for the best season start since 1980. John McEnroe won 42 straight to start the 1984 season, and Bjorn Borg won 33 in a row at the beginning of the 1980 season.
"I know I'm playing great now but there is always something you can improve on — you can never be perfect," the Serbian player said. "I'm winning service games comfortably. That's something I'm happy about today and an encouraging fact for upcoming matches, especially on clay."
Djokovic will surpass Lendl's mark if he wins Friday's quarterfinal against David Ferrer or Sergiy Stakhovsky.
While the men's favorites all advanced to the last eight, top-ranked women's player Caroline Wozniacki was upset by Julia Goerges for the second straight tournament as she exited in the third round 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
Third-seeded Federer recovered from Wednesday's struggle against Feliciano Lopez to get past Xavier Malisse of Belgium 6-4, 6-3.
Federer was in total control after being pushed to the limit one night earlier, when the third-ranked Swiss player was forced to save a match point.
"Mentally I had to shift a bit. I just wanted to put in a good performance, which is what I did," Federer said. "It was a quick turnaround. I just had to get past this match today to have the quarters in sight."
Del Potro pulled out after feeling discomfort in his left hip. With his participation at the French Open at stake, Del Potro preferred not to risk another injury as he rediscovers his form after wrist surgery sidelined him for most of last year.
"It's not nice to have to withdraw from this tournament and this game which would have been nice to play but I'm not in shape," said the 32nd-ranked Argentine, who dropped to as low as No. 481 in January before winning in Delray Beach and Estoril. "I tried but I'm not in shape to play."
Also, seventh-seeded Czech player Tomas Berdych beat Juan Monaco of Argentina 7-5, 6-3.
Earlier, Goerges rallied from 3-0 down to take the first set against Wozniacki after breaking twice. But she lost that momentum as the top-seeded Dane leveled the match with two breaks of her own in the second set.
The 27th-ranked German player broke Wozniacki in the eighth game of the deciding set to lead 5-3 before serving out the match.
"The second set she started to be more aggressive and I started to get tired, so I said to myself keep yourself together for the third set and try to fight for every point," said Goerges, who beat Wozniacki in the Porsche Grand Prix final in Stuttgart, Germany, on April 24.
While Goerges hit 38 unforced errors to Wozniacki's 21, she also managed 36 winners to her opponent's 11 on Manolo Santana court.
"I beat her twice and twice in two weeks so I'm pretty proud of myself," Goerges said after taking the two-hour plus match.
Goerges plays Anastasia Pavyluchenkova in the last eight after the Russian player dismissed fifth-seeded Sam Stosur 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus dispatched Spanish wildcard Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-0, 6-3 to also reach the quarterfinals while sixth-seeded Chinese player Li Na rallied to beat Roberta Vinci of Italy 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Paul Logothetis can be reached at http://twitter.com/PaulLogoAP