Rafael Nadal easily advances at Madrid Open, Djokovic falters again

However his chief problem, as it is for everyone else, will be Nadal, the Argentine's potential semi-final opponent.

Nadal later cruised past Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-1, extending his record of consecutive sets won on clay to 48. But he needed to draw on all that support and his unmatched records to stay at No1: Anything short of the title, and Roger Federer would take over. "He [Djokovic] is a legend of the game, one of the best tennis players of all time". It was in the subsequent service game when Djokovic, who had not lost a point on serve in the third set, paid the price for a seemingly loose game. In the fifth game of the final set, he had three break points, but Edmund recovered from 0-40 down, thanks to two solid serves and a mistake from Djokovic.

It's the sixth straight tournament Djokovic has played that he's failed to reach the quarterfinals.

Goffin is one of the most consistent baseliners in the game but he simply was unable to cope with Edmund's heavier weight of shot.

But make no mistake, Edmund had earned his spot on the edge of the top 20 with increasingly confident, attacking tennis.

Edmund, who reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January, has been in impressive form this season and saw off the two-time victor of the competition on a scoreline of 6-3 2-6 6-3.

Nonetheless, Djokovic ended up winning 7-5, 6-4.

"That's all I can do - go out there and do my best".

'They're just different matches, different situations, different courts, ' he added.

Now, though, he was back with his old coaching team, and looking happy in the Spanish capital.

In his previous three matches against Djokovic, Edmund has failed to even win a set - though he did at least put up a more respectable showing in a 6-4, 7-5 defeat at Indian Wells past year.

The Frenchman looked to have a valid argument, but his complaints seemed only to antagonize the defending champion, who produced some brutal hitting to race through the second set. He maintained the momentum to see off the set 6-2.

The Serb was outclassed by Kyle Edmund of Great Britain on Wednesday.

His powerful serve and forehand combination have now been joined with a much-improved backhand (according to Novak Djokovic who was on the losing end of it on Wednesday) and now David Goffin who was the next casualty of the efficient but often quite reticent Yorkshireman. A couple of errors down that wing were followed by a stunning victor for break point, and Edmund went 5-3.

"I'm proud of his strength, determination, love for what he does".

Another former world number one, Maria Sharapova, continued her revival on clay as she overcame a tense opening set to beat Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu 7-5 6-1.


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