Rafael Nadal also struggled, needing three sets to get past Fabio Fognini. After taking the titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, an ear infection affected his preparation for a tilt in Madrid.
The Serbian, who recently split from his long-term coach Marian Vajda, is on a quest to regain his best form again ahead of the French Open. "I started the match okay, but when I started to go behind, I didn't find any way to improve my game or to make it more hard for him", Murray told a news conference.
It is fair to say, then, that the crowds were packed in to see whether Nadal could keep up his campaign, but in the event, it was another match that had not only the fans but nearly an entire media centre gripped to the very last point. "It's always tough to play with someone who has a big serve".
Djokovic is the heavy favorite against Nishikori. Immediately he made the quarters in Toronto and semis in Cincinnati.
Kyrgios and Nadal have only met twice with the Australian making his breakthrough with a four-set win over the 14-time Grand Slam champion at Wimbledon in 2014.
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Wawrinka found things troubling too, but Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych and Grigor Dimitrov were among the seeds to advance, with Nishikori the only one not getting things done in straight sets. "It's one of the matches that you go back home with a lot of adrenaline and feel satisfied for the work done".
The fifth-ranked Spaniard sprayed an uncharacteristic amount of unforced errors and failed to serve out the third set at 5-3, but a break at 5-4 brought a merciful end to the rocky encounter.
Dimitrov will have to wait a little longer to try to regain that status, and perhaps that will come on his favoured grass, where he made headlines nearly a decade back by winning the junior Wimbledon title.
The Uruguayan will face Dominic Thiem or Andy Murray's conqueror Borna Coric in the semi-finals.
He surrendered his serve in the seventh game, giving the 20-year-old Coric three break points. "There are matches that if you play your good tennis, you have chances".
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Vettel rejoined just under five seconds behind the Mercedes and immediately began to eat into the gap. His problems were exacerbated by Bottas, who had tuned in his auto over the weekend to perfection.
"[Almagro] loves playing on clay".
The player, who is now ranked 49th in the world, outplayed Murray, who has been in poor form of late and only recently lost in the semi-finals in the Godo Tournament in Barcelona. He won the match 6-3, 6-1.
Rafael Nadal extended his flawless record on clay this season to 12-0 with a 6-3, 6-1 destruction of Nick Kyrgios. There were just 13 points with 9 or more strokes and Rafa won 8 of these to complete his domination in both quick and long points. "It's good that I came through".
"I guess it's normal that people start coming up with names". "I'm happy with my physical condition".
I played really well tonight.
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