Rome Masters: Nadal eyes quarter-final spot

18 May, 2018, 16:54 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
  • Rafael Nadal looks to seal last-eight spot at Madrid Open

In a match between two left-handers, Shapovalov saved eight break points in his opening two service games before finally dropping his serve midway through the first set.

Shapovalov was clearly rattled after that and he was broken in the opening game of the second set as he finished the match with six double faults. Serving at 3-5 to stay in the set, Shapovalov fell behind 0-30 when Nadal hammered a return of first serve for a victor. He'll replace Roger Federer at No. 1 if he wins an eighth Rome title.

Nadal is also attempting to regain the top spot this week.

But he will not be able to take revenge on sixth seed Thiem who lost his second round match 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to Fabio Fognini.

He then avenged the defeat Denis Shapovalov inflicted a year ago in Montreal, defeating the teenaged Canadian 6-4 6-1, after overcoming some spirited early resistance.

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

In the decider, a single break of serve in the seventh game gave Fognini the opportunity and he held to his two serves to win 6/3.Kei Nishikori denied Grigor Dimitrov a 27th birthday win to reach the Internazionali BNL d'Italia third round on Wednesday, defeating the World No. 4 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4.

Fourth-seeded Marin Cilic defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4 and will meet Pablo Carreno Busta, who beat Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2.


Djokovic will play Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who rallied past eighth-seeded John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5).

The Romanian, a finalist in Rome previous year, is on her way to holding on to top spot as she next plays France's Caroline Garcia who dumped out US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-1, 7-6 (9/7).

Halep needed to reach the quarterfinals and progress further than No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki to hold onto the top spot, and she accomplished the first task.

Wozniacki eliminated Belgian qualifier Alison van Uytvanck 6-1, 6-4, and three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova came back to beat Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Former No. 1 Angelique Kerber rallied past Irina-Camelia Begu 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, and 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina eliminated American qualifier Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-3.

Venus Williams, who won the Rome title back in 1999 and is bidding for her 50th career title this week, got her first win on clay this season.

Djokovic, a four-time champion on the comeback trail three months after elbow surgery, eased past Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.

This is the last major warmup for the French Open, which starts in 10 days.

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