World number one Novak Djokovic raised his eyes and arms to the sky after beating Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov to reach the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals just hours after learning of the death of his grandfather.
The Serbian, who was told about his loss while practising in the morning, struggled to control his emotions when he walked on court for the match and then broke down in tears after completing a gutsy 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Dolgopolov.
Rafael Nadal ominously moved a step closer to winning a record eighth consecutive title at the principality by demolishing Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-1.
Nadal will face Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, who defeated Spanish eighth seed Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-3.
In a humid and grey afternoon next to the Mediterranean, Djokovic was warmly welcomed by a packed crowd as the news of his loss spread in the Monte Carlo Country Club alleys.
He was crying as he left the court to thunderous applause two hours later.
As the unpredictable Dolgopolov started to misfire in the second set, Djokovic regrouped and took advantage of the flurry of unforced errors flying off his opponent's racket.
Djokovic, who earlier this month had described his grandfather as "my hero and a fighter... who is always sending me lots of positive energy", screamed out loud after he broke Dolgopolov's serve early in the second set.
Even a rain delay in the third set could not unsettle Djokovic and he started weeping the moment he booked his place in the last eight.
Djokovic, who could become the first man in over 40 years to hold all four majors simultaneously if he triumphs at the French Open, will next face Dutchman Robin Haase.
The morning sunshine proved to be a false dawn at the club, which was soon drenched in rain. World number four Andy Murray, however, dodged the showers after France's Julien Benneteau retired hurt.
Murray was leading their fiercely contested opening set 6-5 when Benneteau quit, having fallen in the previous game when sliding to a wide ball. Benneteau received lengthy treatment before deciding that he could not continue.
The Scot will take on Czech Tomas Berdych, the sixth seed, who defeated Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
As the weather turned grey and cooled down, France's fourth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga shrugged off two rain delays to beat Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (9-7), 6-2.
He will meet compatriot and ninth seed Gilles Simon, who moved past Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.
ReutersTags: tennis, sport, monaco First posted April 20, 2012 07:04:11