Thiem records victory over Djokovic to reach Monte Carlo quarter-finals

Austria’s Dominic Thiem is considered one of the contenders for the French Open title. Eric Gaillard  Reuters

World number 1 and the ten-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal is through to his 14th straight quarter-final in the Principality after a 6-3 6-2 triumph over Karen Khachanov, his 65th at his beloved Masters 1000 tournament.

Former world number one Djokovic has still not reached a quarter-final since Wimbledon last July after struggling with a right elbow injury.

Rafael Nadal began his campaign for an 11th Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title when he made quick 6-1, 6-3 work of Aljaz Bedene in the second round on Wednesday.

The victor of the tie is likely to face 10-time champion Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final Friday. "I need days on court", said Nadal.

Japan's Kei Nishikori continued his comeback from injury with an impressive 7-5, 6-2 win over Russian Daniil Medvedev.The former world number four, who has struggled over the previous year with a right wrist injury, followed up his first-round victory against Tomas Berdych with a solid display on centre court. "I would like to build my form so I can peak at Roland Garros".

"Thiem is one of best players in world in general, but probably in the top three on this surface..."

"I've done, with people around me, everything in our power to get my elbow in the best possible shape".

And he came up with the goods in the deciding set to book his spot in the next round.

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Nishikori, now ranked 36, missed the end of last season through injury and only returned to action in a second-tier Challenger event in January.Elsewhere, Karen Khac-hanov cruised past Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-2.

The Spaniard needs to win an 11th Monte Carlo title to stay clear of Roger Federer at the top of the world rankings.

Earlier on Thursday, third seed Alexander Zverev came through a three-set tussle with fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

Also, Japan's Kei Nishikori continued his return from a wrist injury to notch a 7-5, 6-2 win over Russian Daniil Medvedev.

"After two years finally I can play without pain", said Djokovic.

Second-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia also advanced with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over Fernando Verdasco of Spain. He was fined 2,500 euros ($3,100) for unsportsmanlike conduct.

In other matches, Kei Nishikori of Japan overcame an early break to beat Daniil Medvedev of Russian Federation 7-5, 6-2, while No 11 Roberto Bautista Agut, Jan-Lennard Struff, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Richard Gasquet also won.

Goffin is to play against either Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany or Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, while Zverev is set to take on next either his brother Mischa or Frenchmen Richard Gasquet.

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