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Nadal, Djokovic, Federer reach Monte Carlo quarters

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal, reigning titlist Novak Djokovic and three-time runner-up Roger Federer were a trio of easy third-round winners Thursday at the $4 million Monte Carlo Masters tennis event.

The world No. 1 Nadal whipped Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-3, while the second-seeded former No. 1 Djokovic drubbed capable Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-0, 6-1 and the fourth-seeded former top-ranked great Federer handled big-serving Czech Lukas Rosol 6-4, 6-1 on the red clay at the beautiful Monte Carlo Country Club.

Nadal is now a brilliant 50-2 overall in Monte Carlo. Djokovic beat him in last year's final, ending the Spaniard's record eight-year reign at this event.

Djokovic, who's also a two-time runner-up in Monte Carlo, recently captured back-to-back Masters titles in Indian Wells and Miami, beating Federer and Nadal, respectively, in marquee finals.

The reigning French and U.S. Open champion Nadal and Djokovic currently hold all nine Masters titles between them, as well as the ATP World Tour Finals.

Nadal foiled Federer in three straight finals here from 2007-09.

Meanwhile, third-seeded Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka advanced via walkover when 15th-seeded Nicolas Almagro pulled out of the draw and sixth-seeded French Open runner-up David Ferrer dismissed 12th-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2. The Spanish star Almagro was fresh off his runner-up finish in Houston and decided against playing on Thursday because of a left foot injury.

An upset came when hot Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez took out fifth-seeded Czech star Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. Garcia-Lopez is fresh off his clay court title in Casablanca.

Also on Day 5, eighth-seeded Canadian slugger Milos Raonic doused 11th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3 and ninth-seeded French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame gritty 10th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 at the first clay court Masters event of the year.

Friday's quarterfinals will pit Nadal against Ferrer in a rematch of last year's French Open final, Djokovic versus Garcia-Lopez, Wawrinka against Raonic, and Federer versus Tsonga.

The 2014 Monte Carlo winner will collect $760,000.

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