Djokovic, Murray reach Monte Carlo quarters

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and British star Andy Murray were a pair of third-round winners on a rainy Thursday at the Monte Carlo Masters.

The 2009 runner-up Djokovic improved to 22-2 this year by coming from behind to beat 16th-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, on the red clay at the famed Monte Carlo Country Club. The reigning Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon champ Djokovic needed 1 hour, 39 minutes, and waited out a brief rain delay, before reaching the quarterfinals here for a fourth time.

The third-seeded Murray, meanwhile, was leading Julien Benneteau 6-5 in the first set on Day 5 when the Frenchman retired from their bout.

Murray's quarterfinal opponent on Friday will be sixth-seeded Czech slugger Tomas Berdych, who had to overcome 12th-seeded rising Japanese Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Fourth-seeded French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga topped 13th-seeded 2010 Monte Carlo runner-up Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, while ninth-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon upended seventh-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1. Tsonga and Simon, who were part of the French team that lost to the United States in a Davis Cup quarterfinal here at the Monte Carlo Country Club just two weeks ago, will tangle on Friday.

Reigning seven-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal is currently playing his third-round match against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin.

The clay-court wizard Nadal won an Open Era-record seventh consecutive title here last year and is a staggering 40-1 lifetime in Monte Carlo. He topped David Ferrer in last year's all-Spanish finale.

Nadal and Roger Federer are the all-time leaders with 19 Masters titles apiece.

The former No. 1 Nadal is seeking his first title of any kind since capturing last year's French Open.

The 2012 winner of this $3.2 million event will collect $603,000.