Italian Open 2018: Shapovalov overmatched by Nadal on clay

18 May, 2018, 16:55 | Author: Judy Cobb
  • Rafael Nadal looks to seal last-eight spot at Madrid Open

World number two Rafael Nadal reached the quarter-finals of the Italian Open following a routine win on Thursday.

The Romanian will next play 13th-seeded American Madison Keys, who battled past Croatian Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/0) for a place in the quarter-finals.

Men: Rafael Nadal bt Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-0; Novak Djokovic bt Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2; Fabio Fognini bt Dominic Thiem 6-4, 1-6, 6-3; Albert Ramos bt John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5).

"I just really wanted to win this match against a really classy player", said the five-time Grand Slam champion.

"I didn't feel completely dead out there but I felt like I could've been fresher", Shapovalov said.

Nadal leveled at two-all and later got the crucial break to lead 4-3.

The Spaniard will next take on Fognini, a player he knows well having played 14 times and holds a 10-3 record against including five wins in their most recent matches.

"He was really serving big and I had some mistakes with the return", Nadal said.

Defending champion Elina Svitolina eased into the third round while three-time victor Maria Sharapova needed a marathon three sets to get past Australian Ashleigh Barty. "That was the way that I want to play". "It was important, after a loss in Madrid, to come back strong".

The 21-year-old will play Belgian David Goffin after the ninth seed advanced when Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro retired while trailing 6-2, 4-5 with a groin injury.

The world No 2 was expected to brush the 19-year-old aside easily and immediately piled on the pressure, forcing three break point opportunities in the first game of the match.

To stay in top spot, Halep needs to progress further than No 2 Caroline Wozniacki, who was facing 15th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova in a late match.

Jelena Ostapenko, who is preparing to defend her title at Roland Garros, rallied past Johanna Konta 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 and will meet either three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova or Daria Gavrilova.

The biggest upset of the day belonged to Japan's Kei Nishikori, who came from behind to upend third-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4.

Also, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens held off a comeback from Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi in a 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 victory, and seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia defeated Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4.

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.

For rising German star Zverev it was a tenth consecutive win after back-to-back title runs at Munich and Madrid.

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