Last year's winner, Serb Novak Djokovic, easily made it through to the quarter-finals, beating Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-1. Roger Federer also qualified for the quaters at the expense of 16th seed Radek Stepanek (6-4, 6-1).
REUTERS - Defending champion Novak Djokovic breezed past misfiring Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-1 6-1 to reach the Rome Masters quarter-finals on Thursday.
World number two Roger Federer had to work only slightly harder to progress with a 6-4 6-1 win over 16th seed Radek Stepanek and avenge the quarter-final defeat he suffered against the Czech here last year.
Robredo struggled to keep the ball in play throughout, giving away a break to love in the fourth game with a series of poor shots and another in the sixth with a drop into the net.
Serbian third seed Djokovic, who destroyed a racket in frustration when Albert Montanes troubled him in the second round, continued to bully the 13th-seeded Robredo in the second set.
Stepanek's strategy of attacking the net did not have the same unsettling effect as the last time he met Federer in Rome, partly because of too many unforced errors.
The Swiss raced 4-1 ahead and broke serve in the final game of the first set to take it after Stepanek had rallied to 5-4.
Federer then produced some stunning winners to stroll home.
After knocking out Britain's world number four Andy Murray on Wednesday, Argentine qualifier Juan Monaco moved into the last eight with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Croatian 15th seed Marin Cilic.
Monaco will face Chilean Fernando Gonzalez, the 12th seed who scraped past Austria's Juergen Melzer 3-6 6-3 7-5.
Later on Thursday, Spain's world number one Rafael Nadal meets Swede Robin Soderling.
Date created : 2009-04-30