Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, seven-time reigning champion Rafael Nadal and British star Andy Murray were a trio of third-round winners on a rainy Thursday at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The 2009 runner-up Djokovic improved to 22-2 this year by coming from behind to beat 16th-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, on the red clay at the famed Monte Carlo Country Club. The reigning Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon champ Djokovic needed 1 hour, 39 minutes and waited out a brief rain delay before reaching the quarterfinals here for a fourth time.
Up next for the mighty Djokovic will be Dutchman Robin Haase, who handled Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci 6-2, 6-3.
The second-seeded former No. 1 Nadal held his serve throughout while lambasting helpless Kazakhstani qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-1 in exactly one hour.
The clay-court stalwart Nadal won an Open Era-record seventh consecutive title here last year and is now an incredible 41-1 lifetime in Monte Carlo. He topped David Ferrer in last year's all-Spanish finale.
Nadal and Roger Federer are the all-time leaders with 19 Masters titles apiece.
The former No. 1 Nadal is seeking his first title of any kind since capturing last year's French Open.
The third-seeded Murray, meanwhile, was leading Julien Benneteau 6-5 in the first set on Day 5 when the Frenchman retired from their bout not long after taking a tumble and injuring his right ankle and right wrist.
Murray's quarterfinal opponent on Friday will be sixth-seeded Czech slugger Tomas Berdych, who had to overcome 12th-seeded rising Japanese Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Fourth-seeded French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga topped 13th-seeded 2010 Monte Carlo runner-up Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, while ninth-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon upended seventh-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1. Tsonga and Simon, who were part of the French team that lost to the United States in a Davis Cup quarterfinal here at the Monte Carlo Country Club two weeks ago, will tangle on Friday.
The 2012 winner of this $3.2 million Masters event will collect $603,000.