Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - World No. 1 star Novak Djokovic and eight-time reigning champion Rafael Nadal reached the quarterfinals, while second seed Andy Murray suffered a third-round upset Thursday at the $3.465 Monte Carlo Masters, the third ATP Masters 1000 event of the year.
The two-time Monte Carlo runner-up Djokovic, who has been nursing an ankle injury suffered during some Davis Cup action a couple weeks ago, came from behind for the second straight day to beat gritty 14th-seeded Argentine Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, while the third-seeded former No. 1 Nadal won his 44th straight match on the red clay at the famed Monte Carlo Country Club with a 6-2, 6-4 handling of 16th-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who failed to enjoy even one break-point opportunity in the predictable loss.
The Australian Open champion Djokovic will face veteran Finnish left- hander Jarkko Nieminen in Friday's quarters.
This prestigious tennis event, which dates all the way back to 1897, has been captured the last eight years by the great Nadal, who topped Djokovic in last year's finale. Last year's title tilt also marked a rematch of the 2009 championship match, which was also won by the clay-court- loving Nadal.
Nadal, who is now 46-1 lifetime at this event, owns a record 22 Masters titles overall. The seven-time French Open champion's quarterfinal opponent on Friday will be talented Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who secured his berth in the round of eight by besting German Florian Mayer 6-2, 6-4.
Meanwhile, playing on his least-favorite surface, the U.S. Open champion Murray was tattooed by 13th-seeded Swiss slugger Stanislas Wawrinka 6-1, 6-2 on Day 5. And more upsets came when Italian Fabio Fognini took out fourth- seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-2 and the aforementioned Nieminen outlasted fifth-seeded former U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4).
Sixth-seeded French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga avoided an upset by whipping veteran Austrian southpaw Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-0 the day after his 28th birthday and seventh-seeded French star Richard Gasquet advanced by dousing ninth-seeded Croat Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-4.
Friday's other quarterfinals will pit Tsonga against Wawrinka and Gasquet versus Fognini.