Nadal eases past Shapovalov, Djokovic back challenging in Rome

Nadal eases past Shapovalov, Djokovic back challenging in Rome

Nadal eases past Shapovalov, Djokovic back challenging in Rome

The 24-year-old destroyed his racket in fury as he suffered his first loss to Fognini in three meetings, sinking 6-4 1-6 6-3. But Rafa road his forehand and lost just five points on serve en route to an easy win.

Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Serbia's Aljaz Bedene 6/4; 6/7 (3); 6/2, while hometown favourite Fabio Fognini outplayed the young German Peter Gojowcsyk 6/2; 6/2.

"It was important, after a loss in Madrid, to come back strong, and that's what I did today", said Nadal following his demolition of Dzumhur. In the middle of the sixth game the Chair Umpire over-ruled a call after inspecting the point where the ball landed.

The top seed, who will reclaim the world number one ranking from Roger Federer if he wins his eighth title in Rome, turned in a near-flawless performance, losing only five service points as he honed in on victory in an hour and 22 minutes.

The Spanish 16-time Grand Slam champion looked in control from the start of his match against his underdog opponent, and eventually came out on top by a convincing 6-4, 6-1 scoreline on the clay.

Four-time champion Novak Djokovic also advanced, beating Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2. Djokovic, a four-time victor at Rome, had five aces in the match and will next face Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who rallied past eighth-seeded American John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) in two hours, 53 minutes.

Halep eased past Japan's Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-0, as Wozniacki beat Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 6-1, 6-4.

Number one seed Simona Halep of Romania made it through to the quarter-finals before a ball was struck as her opponent, Madison Keys of the USA, had to retire hurt before she took to the court.

Halep next plays 13th-seeded American Madison Keys, who battled past Croatian Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/0), for a place in the last eight.

"It was a positive match, of course", said Nadal, who is chasing an eighth title at Rome.

Also on the red clay of the Foro Italico, Kei Nishikori rallied to beat third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4, and Juan Martin del Potro eliminated Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3.

Venus Williams crashed out in a third round defeat by Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, 6/2; 7/6 (3) at the on-going Rome Open Tennis Championship. On Thursday, Shapovalov and Nadal met for the first time since, but on Nadal's preferred surface: clay. She will next face former No 1 Angelique Kerber, who routed Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-1.

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