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Sluggish Djokovic reaches quarters in Rome

Rome – World No 1 Novak Djokovic demonstrated how to smash a racquet and how to cope with adversity as he reached the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters on Thursday.

In a blustery wind, Djokovic mangled his racquet after losing the first set to Juan Monaco of Argentina but recovered from a break down in the second set to clinch a 4-6 6-2 6-3 win.

World number one Novak Djokovic reached the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters after beating Juan Monaco after recovering froma sluggish start. Credit: Reuters

From 1-2 in the second set it was as if somebody had flicked a switch as a dominant Djokovic won 20 of the next 24 points to level the match.

Monaco, ranked 15th, could not sustain his level and Djokovic eased away to set up a meeting with Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

“I hope the children watching don't do that,” a smiling Djokovic told a news conference, referring to his racket-smashing. “But I show my emotions out there. That's who I am.

“I struggled with the wind today and I was a bit defensive and passive in the first set but once I was more direct I started to play much better.”

Sixth seed David Ferrer and number seven Tomas Berdych both advanced to the last eight with straight-set wins.

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray were all due to play their third-round matches later on Thursday.

In the women's event, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was the first to book her place in the quarter-finals after a 6-2 5-7 6-2 victory over Sorana Cirstea.

Serena and Venus Williams were both due on court later on Thursday while defending champion Maria Sharapova was scheduled to play Ana Ivanovic in the night match.

World number one Victoria Azarenka pulled out injured on Wednesday.– Reuters

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