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Nadal eases past Shapovalov, Djokovic back challenging in Rome

AFP  |  Rome 

brushed aside Canadian teenager with a 6-4, 6-1 victory at the Italian Open as showed he is on the comeback trail by reaching his first quarter-final of 2018.

The 31-year-old Nadal will face Italian in the last eight as he looks to retake the world number one ranking from by winning an eighth title this week.

Nadal has already won his 11th titles in and during the current clay-court season, but has lost in the quarter-finals in each of the last three years in

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 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 he holds a 10-3 record against including five straight wins in their most recent matches.

Fognini got past Germany's 6-4, 6-4.

Meanwhile, Djokovic moved into his first quarter-final since last July when he defeated Spain's 6-1, 7-5.

The four-time champion is making his way back this year after a six-month absence before the Australian Open, which was followed by

"It felt good," said the 12-time 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 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 7-5, 7-6 (13/11).

For Zverev it was an 11th consecutive win after back-to-back title runs at and

The 21-year-old will play Belgian who advanced when Argentine fifth seed retired while trailing 6-2, 4-5 with a groin

- Halep, Sharapova advance -


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In the women's tournament, 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.

The Romanian, a finalist in last year, is on her way to holding on to top spot as she next plays France's who dumped out champion 6-1, 7-6 (9/7).

Halep needed to reach at least the last eight and go further than world number two to retain the top ranking going into

was given a scare by Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova before closing out the match 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

She next plays Estonia's who defeated for the second time in a week.

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.

Three-time winner ousted 6-3, 6-4 and will play fifth seed and champion who saw off Britain's 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Defending champion of fought back from a first set wipeout against to win 0-6, 6-3, 6-2.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 09:55 IST
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