World number one Novak Djokovic continued his Wimbledon hangover when he was ousted by Tommy Robredo, while Roger Federer and Andy Murray set up a mouthwatering quarter-final clash at the Cincinnati Masters, in Ohio.
Djokovic dismal form
Wimbledon champion Djokovic continued his dismal build-up to the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, when he suffered a second consecutive third-round exit from an ATP Masters series event, this time at the hands of 16th-seed veteran Robredo.
Spaniard Robredo booked his quarter-final berth when he stunned the Serbian 7-6, 7-5, barely a week after the world number one was thrashed by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, at the same stage of last week's Masters event in Toronto.
Djokovic, a winner of four tournaments this season, was looking to complete the career Golden Masters, or all the Masters 1000 titles, however he now heads into Flushing Meadows with only two-wins under his belt on the hard-courts after lifting his seventh Grand Slam at the Wimbledon Championships, hardly ideal preparation for the 2011 US Open Champion.
A worried Djokovic told the media after his loss: "I just lost the match. It was bad. Many, many things are not clicking these two weeks on hard courts. It's unfortunate, but it's more than obvious I'm not playing even close to what I'm supposed to play," said Djokovic.
"I have to keep on working and trying to get better for the US Open. I just don't feel comfortable. That's it."
Veteran Robredo now takes on compatriot David Ferrer in the quarter-finals after he dispatched Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 6-0.
The Spanish pair have met on nine-occasions since 2006, with Ferrer leading 7-2, although only one of the clashes have come on the hard-courts, way back in 2007.
Federer back in the groove
A resurgent Federer edged closer to an eighth-final of the season when he set up a blockbuster quarter-final match-up with Andy Murray.
The Swiss legend, a losing finalist to Tsonga last week in Toronto, became the first player to register 300 ATP Masters wins, when he defeated Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 7-6, 5-7, 6-2, during the second-round, however Frenchman Gael Monfils made the five-times Cincinnati champion work hard for his 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, win in yesterdays third-round action.
Next up for the 17-times Grand Slam Champion will be two-times Cincinnati winner, Andy Murray, after he battled back to defeat big serving American John Isner, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6.
Murray, still searching for a first tournament win of the year, had to dig deep and overcome two-match points and 21-aces from the American, however the former US Open Champion managed to outlast his opponent and set up a 22nd-encounter with his great rival Federer.
Not many can boast a superior win-loss record against the Swiss, however Murray is one that can after beating his rival on 11-occasions to Federer's 10 victories.
Australian Open Champion Stan Wawrinka also booked his quarter-final berth with a battling 3-6, 6-0, 6-1, over 14th-seed Marin Cilic.
Wawrinka, also a titlist in Monte Carlo and Chennai this season, faces Frenchman Julien Benneteau, in the next round after he got past 6-foot-8 Pole Jerzy Janowicz 7-5, 6-1.
The final quarter-final line-up sees fifth-seed Canadian, Milos Raonic, take on the temperamental Italian, Fabio Fognini.
Raonic, a winner in Washington a few weeks back, showcased his lethal serve with 30-aces before ousting American, Steve Johnson, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, while 15th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini came back to beat Taiwan's Yen-Hsun Lu 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
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