Rafael Nadal brushed aside Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov with a 6-4, 6-1 victory at the Italian Open as Novak Djokovic showed he is on the comeback trail by reaching his first quarter-final of 2018.
He was far too strong for Shapovalov yesterday, taking the opening set with a break in the seventh game before racing through the second to gain a measure of revenge for his shock defeat by the 19-year-old in Montreal last year.
"I think Rafa played incredible today," said Shapovalov. "He's been playing at a really high level for this whole clay season. So, you know, it's credit to him. He was just simply too good today." Top seed Nadal recorded his 20th clay-court win of the year while Shapovalov will at least have the consolation of becoming the Canadian number one on Monday.
"It was a solid match for me," said Nadal. "I started with some mistakes on the return. But with my serve, I didn't lose many points.
"At the beginning, I really think that he was serving big. I got the break in the 3-all. And then the match changed. He probably stopped to serve that big a little bit, and I was a little bit more relaxed."
The Spaniard will next take on Fognini, a player he holds a 10-3 record against including five straight wins in their most recent matches.
Fognini got past Germany's Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4.
"It felt good," said the 12-time Grand Slam winner. "I've historically always played well in Rome, and I feel like each match is getting better." The 30-year-old set up a clash with Japan's Kei Nishikori for a semi-final berth.
Germany's Alexander Zverev, who beat Djokovic in last year's final, kept his title defence on track but needed eight match points to see off Briton Kyle Edmund 7-5, 7-6 (13/11).
- Halep, Sharapova advance -
In the women's tournament, Simona Halep boosted her bid to retain the world number one ranking as the top seed advanced to the quarter-finals after American Madison Keys withdrew injured with a painful rib.
Dane Wozniacki was given a scare by Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova before closing out the match 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
Kontaveit, 22, won through 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) against the 37-year-old American who was seeded eighth in a tournament she won nearly two decades ago in 1999.
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