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Tennis: Wawrinka stumbles, Murray advances at Rome Masters

Monte Carlo champion Stanislas Wawrinka joined fellow Swiss Roger Federer on the scrapheap at the ATP-WTA Rome Masters on Thursday as a back injury resulted in a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 loss to 15th seed Tommy Haas.

ROME: Monte Carlo champion Stanislas Wawrinka joined fellow Swiss Roger Federer on the scrapheap at the ATP-WTA Rome Masters on Thursday as a back injury resulted in a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 loss to 15th seed Tommy Haas.

The 36-year-old has now won both of his matches with Wawrinka, a 2008 finalist at the Foro Italico.

Andy Murray, who quit the event with back problems a year ago and eventually required surgery, closed out a welcome win over Jurgen Melzer with his sixth ace for a 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 result which puts him into his second straight clay quarter-final after Madrid a week ago.

Germany's Haas ended with seven aces to eight for Wawrinka, who could not hold onto leads throughout the two-hour contest. The winner produced 32 winners while Wawrinka struck 40 unforced errors.

Haas broke in the third set for 5-3, and later finished with an ace a game later on his first match point.

Wawrinka said he started having back problems after playing a match in the chill two days earlier.

He said the injury is not serious and should not affect his chances for Roland Garros starting in 10 days.

"It was difficult to give the intensity. I know my back, I just need some rest - maybe two days is enough - But I'm not worried about it," he said.

"I played because I wanted to try. It was not easy to put all energy onto my game. I won first set even if I was not playing my best.

"Even though, I still thought I had a chance to win it. He was more aggressive in the second set and was doing more things on the court."

Murray now owns a perfect 7-0 record over Austrian Melzer, who is back on court after shoulder problems,

The Scot spent just under one and three-quarter hours on the clay as his confidence on his least favourite surface starts to improve.

Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic reached his first Rome quarter-final with a defeat of French 11th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7/5), 6-4. Jeremy Chardy, who beat Federer 24 hours earlier, kept up his momentum by defeating Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-2.

In women's play, Chinese second seed Li Na defeated Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals, turning the momentum in a long-running rivalry.

Stosur, a 2010 Roland Garros finalist, had beaten world number two Li in all six of their previous meetings going back to 2007.

The victory was her second straight over an Aussie opponent. Li defeated qualifier Casey Dellacqua in the previous round.

"Today I was very focused on what I had to do on the court to put pressure on her," said Li. "Putting on pressure was the key to the match, otherwise she can totally control you.

"I now feel I'm playing high quality matches."

She will play against Italian tenth seed Sara Errani, who beat Czech Petra Cetkovska 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), in the quarter-finals.

Li, the reigning Australian Open winner, is looking for her third trophy of the season as she prepares for the French Open, which she won in 2011.

The other matches saw third-seed Agnieszka Radwanska put out Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open winner, 6-4, 6-1, to advance into the next round.

Ana Ivanovic handed Maria Sharapova her first loss of the spring clay season as she beat the Russian eighth seed 6-1, 6-4.

Sharapova had won back-to-back titles in Stuttgart and Madrid, compiling a dozen straight victories.

Ivanovic, the 2008 Roland Garros winner and world number one, had won just two of 10 previous meetings with the four-time grand slam champion, with the last win recorded seven years ago at a Roland Garros semi-final.

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