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Nadal, Djokovic romp into Rome quarter-finals

May 18, 2018 09:12 IST

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his third round match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov at the Italian Open. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

Rafael Nadal swept into the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Thursday with a ruthless 6-4, 6-1 victory over Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov.

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.


"It was a solid match for me," Nadal said. "I started with some mistakes on the return but with my serve, I didn't lose many points."

The Spaniard will resume his quest for his first title in Rome in five years against Italian Fabio Fognini.

Fognini battled hard to reach the quarters, coming from 2-4 down in the opening set to beat German Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4.

Former world number one Novak Djokovic is also in the quarter-finals for the first time this year.

Novak Djokovic

IMAGE: Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his third round match against Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Djokovic, back after a troublesome elbow injury, showed flashes of his formidable best as he beat Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 7-5 and will meet Japan's Kei Nishikori in the next round.

Nishikori, who like Djokovic is trying to come back from injury, was in complete control against Philipp Kohlschreiber, defeating the German 6-1, 6-2.

Defending champion Alexander Zverev scraped past Britain's Kyle Edmund 7-5, 7-6(11) after squandering seven match points, and claimed an 11th consecutive victory that set up a quarter-final clash with ninth seed David Goffin.

Belgian Goffin was leading 6-2, 4-5 against fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro when the Argentine was forced to retire with what appeared to be a groin injury that throws his participation at the French Open into doubt. The Paris major begins on May 27.

"I was worried so I decided to stop the game at the end of the second set to see the doctor and see what they say," Del Potro said. "I will do all of the exams now and then I will try to make a good decision for the future."

Fourth seed Marin Cilic displayed plenty of patience during his 6-3, 6-4 win over Frenchman Benoit Paire.

The Croatian dropped his serve early in the second set, but stayed calm, controlling play from the baseline and picking his moments to turn up the heat.

Cilic will face Pablo Carreno Busta for a place in the semi-finals.

Ostapenko ousts Konta in Rome to set up Sharapova clash

Jelena Ostapenko

IMAGE: Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko in action during her third round match against Britain's Johanna Konta. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko ruined Johanna Konta's birthday celebrations at the Italian Open by coming from a set down to beat the Briton 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 and book her place in the quarter-finals.

The Latvian started poorly, struggling to get her first serves in and making 28 unforced errors in all, but her fearlessness and aggression made the difference as the match wore on.

Konta played with courage and intelligence on her 27th birthday, coming forward frequently to try and take time away from her opponent on the slower clay surface.

The strategy worked until Ostapenko stitched together three winners to break Konta's serve for the first time in the second set.

Her nerves steadied, the Latvian began finding the lines with her shots and though Konta soldiered on gamely she had no answer to the sheer variety of winners, 36 in all, that flew past her.

Next up for the 20-year-old is an intriguing clash with Maria Sharapova, a three-times winner in Rome.

The Russian, who struck 38 winners of her own during her 6-3, 6-4 win over Australian Daria Gavrilova, will hope she can cut down on the 32 unforced errors she made to survive her first meeting with Ostapenko.

The United States endured a dreadful day, with all three players who made the last-16 exiting.

Eighth seed Venus Williams fell to Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 7-6(3) for her second defeat by the Estonian in as many weeks after losing to her in Madrid.

Madison Keys withdrew from her match with top seed Simona Halep with a rib injury. The walkover means the Romanian will retain the number one ranking if she progresses further in Rome than Dane Caroline Wozniacki.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens was also knocked out after making an abysmal start against Caroline Garcia.

A listless Stephens won a single game en route to surrendering the first set and though she fought back in the second, Garcia's greater comfort level on clay saw her through 6-1, 7-6(7).

Defending champion Elina Svitolina bounced back from a first-set bagel to beat Russia's Daria Kasatkina 0-6 6-3 6-2 and will meet Angelique Kerber, who brushed aside Maria Sakkari 6-1 6-1.

World number two Wozniacki was pushed to three sets by Anastasija Sevastova, but prevailed 6-2 5-7 6-3 in the day's last match.

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