Berdych falls to Fognini

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FOURTH seed Tomas Berdych was another high-profile casualty at the Monte Carlo Masters, 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 decision 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.

Czech Berdych, a semi-finalist last year, 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. Djokovic will face Jarkko Nieminen after the Finn defeated Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4).