|Stanislas Wawrinka hits a return to Andy Murray, on Thursday
Monte Carlo: Leander Paes and his Austrian partner Jurgen Melzer outplayed Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna to enter the quarter finals of the Monte Carlo Masters, here on Thursday.
The unseeded Indo-Austrian pair got the better of sixth-seeded Indians, 6-2 6-3 in little less than an hour.
Paes-Melzer broke Bhupathi-Bopanna three times out of the nine chances that they got, while the Indian combo failed to convert any of the two opportunities.
Paes-Melzer will next take on top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States.
In the singles, a string of errors put world No. 2 Andy Murray out when he lost 6-1 6-2 to Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round.
Fourth seed Tomas Berdych and Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro, seeded five, were also beaten at the first big claycourt event of the season, while Rafael Nadal calmly continued his bid for a ninth consecutive crown with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
Top seed Novak Djokovic, who made a late call to participate after recovering from a sprained ankle, overcame a second opening set scare of the week to move past Juan Monaco of Argentina 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Murray, who has repeatedly said he needs time to find his feet on the red clay, looked frustrated on court and picked up only eight points on serve in the first set. “I started hitting the ball shorter, then he was able to dictate the play,” added Murray, who made the last eight last year and is now set to slip to third behind Roger Federer in the ATP rankings.
The 17th-ranked Wawrinka, who had won their two previous encounters on the surface, reached the quarter finals for the second year in a row and will now face Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who overwhelmed Melzer 6-3 6-0. Czech Berdych was humbled 6-4 6-2 by Italy’s Fabio Fognini who also beat him in the first round here in 2009.
Berdych was broken four times overall and never got into a rhythm.
Fognini will now face seventh seed Richard Gasquet of France who beat Croatian Marin Cilic, seeded nine, 7-5 6-4. Defending champion Nadal notched up his 44th win in a row in the Principality and set up a quarter-final encounter with Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.
German Kolschreiber did not pose a big threat to Nadal, who has already won three titles this year following his return from a seven-month knee injury layoff.
The Spaniard pleased the cheering crowd with a solid display on the sun-baked Centre Court that has been his stage since 2005. Dimitrov, who at 21 is making his debut in the Monte Carlo main draw, beat German Florian Mayer 6-2 6-4.
World No. 1 Djokovic seemed uncomfortable when he checked his right foot after losing the first set to 14th-seed Monaco, only to fight back with heart and go through.
The Monaco-based Serbian withstood the long rallies and rediscovered his sharpness to eventually prevail.
“The feeling was quite similar as yesterday,” Djokovic said.
“I’m experiencing something new this week. I have to triple the effort I put on court because there are so many things I’m thinking about.”
Last year's finalist Djokovic will take on Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, who eclipsed Del Potro 6-4 4-6 7-6 as the sun set over the secondary Court of Princes.