The action in the ATP draw continued apace on Thursday in the Caja Mágica with victories for the top seeds during the afternoon session.
Andy Murray, the world number two and defending champion, recorded a comfortable 6-4, 6-2 win over Gilles Simon during which he didn’t face a single break point opportunity. “I played intelligent tennis,” Murray said after the match. “The conditions on court are fast, which allowed me to pick up more free points on my serve and that helped.” Having opened the day’s play on centre court Murray was the first player through to the men’s quarter-finals, where he will meet eighth seed Tomas Berdych.
The big-serving Czech was out on the Arantxa Sánchez Vicario show court at the same time, where he knocked out David Ferrer. The ninth seed battled until the end in a match lasting one hour and 55 minutes but could not find a way past Berdych, who took the opening set in a nail-biting tie-break. However, the Spaniard was happy with his performance and viewed his run this week at the Madrid Open in a positive light: “It’s always important to get some rhythm and carry on working towards the next tournament, because Rome and Roland Garros are coming up,” Ferrer said.
On Court 3, sixth seed Kei Nishikori beat Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals, where he will play Nick Kyrgios after the Australian defeated Pablo Cuevas. “Every year I’m improving,” said Nishikori, a finalist in 2014 at the Caja Mágica. “I think I’m more consistent than I ever have been and that’s why I’m playing some good tennis.”