Three of the big four in men’s tennis reached the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d’Italia on Thursday, but Andy Murray was forced to pull out through fatigue.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all came through their third-round matches, although defending champion Djokovic was made to work much harder than either of his rivals, coming from a set down before defeating Thomaz Bellucci.
Murray’s participation in the Masters 1000 event had been in doubt ahead of the tournament, although he showed no signs of tiredness in seeing off Jeremy Chardy on Wednesday.
But, after a hectic schedule which has seen him claim back-to-back clay-court titles in Munich and Madrid, the world number three opted to withdraw ahead of his clash with David Goffin.
World number 20 Goffin will now meet David Ferrer in the quarter-finals, after the seventh seed defeated compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1 6-3.
Djokovic, the only man other than Nadal to triumph here in the last 10 years, showed his battling qualities as he came from behind to prevail 5-7 6-2 6-3 against world number 68 Bellucci.
The Brazilian broke the world number one in game 11 of the first set on his way to a surprise lead, but Djokovic showed his superiority thereafter and rattled off the next two sets with relative ease.
He will now meet Kei Nishikori, who got the better of Viktor Troicki 6-4 6-3.
Unlike Djokovic, Nadal and Federer were comfortable in defeating John Isner and Kevin Anderson respectively.
Seven-time champion Nadal made short work of the big-serving American, breaking Isner once in each set to seal a routine 6-4 6-4 success.
Federer, after taking the opening set against Anderson, wasted three match points and was broken twice when serving for victory before eventually overcoming the 15th seed 6-3 7-5.
Fourth seed Nadal will meet Stan Wawrinka, who defeated Dominic Thiem 7-6 (7-3) 6-4, and Federer faces Tomas Berdych, a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-2) winner against Fabio Fognini.