SONY ERICSSON OPEN 2012
Djokovic Eases Past Gasquet; Ferrer, Fish Advance
by Matt Fitzgerald|
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic reached the Sony Ericsson Open quarter-finals on Tuesday, defeating 17th seed Richard Gasquet 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 40 minutes.
The Serbian started slow, falling behind 1-3 before settling into the fourth-round clash. Djokovic converted three of his 10 break point opportunities to notch his sixth victory in seven meetings with the Frenchman.
“He came up with some great shots today. I thought that he had really good chances to win the first set,” said Djokovic. “I managed to stay composed, play well when I needed to, and then, it was much different when [I had the] set advantage.”
Djokovic, bidding to repeat as champion at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time, will next face off against fifth seed David Ferrer.
The Spaniard dismissed 11th-seeded Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-3 in night-session action. Ferrer won 77 per cent of his first serve points, and broke the Argentine three times to wrap up the win in one hour and 36 minutes.
"I played very well tonight. I played very consistent, very solid," said Ferrer. "A good performance and maybe my best match this year... My best results are on hard courts. I like this surface. I like the fans here in Miami. I like this tournament."
Del Potro dropped his second straight meeting to Ferrer, after falling in five sets to the World No. 5 in a Davis Cup Final rubber last December.
"He made a better match than me tonight," said del Potro. "He was really solid in the baseline, playing long rallies. I need to work hard if I want to beat him."
Ferrer is 5-7 against Djokovic, having bowed out to the 24 year old in the Australian Open quarter-finals. Djokovic went on the claim his fifth Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park. Ferrer's last victory over the top seed came in the round-robin stage of the 2011 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
"It's going to be difficult to beat Novak. But I will try to do my best," Ferrer said. I have to play very solid. I need [a] good percentage with my first serve."
Eighth seed Mardy Fish moved into the quarter-finals for the second straight year, topping No. 12 seed Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3.
“I certainly served better percentage wise, and when I needed some free points, I got them," said Fish. “And you need them against someone like him. He played great."
Fish, who became the top-ranked American after his semi-final run at Crandon Park in 2011, won 51 of his 53 first serve points to prevail over the Spaniard for the third consecutive time.
"Physically I felt great. [Those are] the kind of conditions I love playing in," Fish said. "That's why I request to play during the day all the time. I feel like I can manage the heat as good as anyone. I grew up in this weather, so I felt as good as I felt in a while."
In the final eight, Fish will face 21st seed Juan Monaco, who eased past No. 30 seed Andy Roddick 7-5, 6-0 in one hour and 40 minutes. In the second set, Monaco capitalized on three of his five break point opportunities, taking eight of his nine second serve return points to secure his first win against the two-time Miami champion.
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