Madrid: Second-ranked Roger Federer was ousted by Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in the third round of the Madrid Open on Thursday. After recovering from Nishikori's strong start, it looked like Federer found his stride after roaring back in the second set.
But Nishikori reasserted his ground game in the decider after breaking the defending champion for a 3-1 advantage and held on for the surprising victory to reach the quarterfinals. The pair had met only once before with Federer winning in straight sets.
Federer's early exit leaves Rafael Nadal as the favorite after world No. 1 Novak Djokovic lost on Tuesday. Nadal beat Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3 earlier.
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova also reached the quarters in straight sets.