Milos Raonic, Andy Murray out of Madrid Open
Canadian drops pair of tiebreakers to Nishikori
Canada's Milos Raonic was eliminated from the Madrid Open on Thursday, dropping his third-round match at the clay-court tournament to Japan's Kei Nishikori.
Though the 10th-seeded Nishikori won in straight sets, both went to a tiebreaker, where the Japanese player prevailed 7-5 each time over the No. 8 Raonic.
The Canadian also failed to advance deep into last week's clay-court Portugal Open, where he lost in the quarter-finals.
Eugenie Bouchard, Canada's top women's player, lost in the first round at Madrid to Agnieszka Radwanska.
The tournament is one of the tune-ups for the French Open, which begins on May 25 on the clay at Roland Garros.
Murray out; Nadal, Serena advance
Andy Murray hit error after error Thursday and was eliminated from the Madrid Masters in the third round.
The Wimbledon champion was overwhelmed by the 46th-ranked Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-2. Murray's play was erratic throughout the match against the Colombian qualifier, who earned his first career victory against a top-10 player in 20 attempts.
The eighth-ranked Murray mentioned his split from coach Ivan Lendl alongside his "inconsistent" play.
"My coach is missing. That's quite a big part of my team," Murray said. "I didn't envision a finish like that. I need to sit down and think about that the next couple of days and see what I need to do."
Defending champions Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams had little trouble reaching the quarterfinals at the clay-court tournament, both winning in straight sets.
Nadal hadn't lost a quarter-final on clay in nine years until last month in Monte Carlo, and he repeated the disappointing feat in Barcelona.
On Thursday, Nadal let a 3-1 lead in the second set slip before beating Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-1, 6-4.
"For one hour probably I was playing the best tennis that I played for the last three weeks," Nadal said. "After that I committed errors, so what I need to do is find more consistency."
Nadal will next face sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, who beat Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Berdych hasn't beaten Nadal since a 2006 meeting in Madrid, which was marked by jeering and angry exchanges between the players.
"He'll be a big test for me," Nadal said. "What happened is in the past. It was one of the few times I had problems inside a court."
Nishikori next faces local favourite Feliciano Lopez who advanced when Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem withdrew before the match due to an unspecified illness. Thiem upset Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round.
Fifth-ranked David Ferrer contained John Isner's big serve — holding the American to just six aces — and used a break in each set to win 6-4, 6-4.
Williams earned her 650th career victory with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Carla Suarez Navarro. Williams, in pursuit of her 60th title, hit 27 winners to her Spanish opponent's five.
"She made me work for every point and it wasn't an easy win," the top-ranked American said. "She just won last week, so she is definitely not an easy player to play."
Williams will next face 2011 champion Petra Kvitova. The fifth-seeded Czech beat Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-3.
Also, Australian Open champion Li Na and Maria Sharapova will meet in the quarterfinals after both won their third round matches.
After a poor opening set, the second-ranked Li overcame a slew of unforced errors and a bothersome toe problem to beat Sloane Stephens of the United States 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
"After the first set I was like, 'Calm down,"' Li said. "I say, 'OK, I cannot only think about what happened for the game, you have to look forward otherwise you cannot make it."'
Sharapova beat Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-4, 6-3, while Ana Ivanovic cruised into the last eight with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenka.
With files from The Associated Press