Nadal ruthless in Rome, reaches last eight

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

The King of Clay was taking no prisoners on the red stuff in Rome, needing just 71 minutes to roll over Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-1 without even facing a breakpoint.

Shapovalov showed steely resolve early on, defending no less than eight break points in his opening two service games. But Nadal’s power game would eventually earn another opportunity, which he converted before he went on to consolidate the break and serve out the set.

The wheels came off for the Canadian in the second set, eventually notching up 19 unforced errors as Nadal broke him three times and closed out the final set in 29 minutes.

The victory books Nadal a date with fiery local Fabio Fognini, who continues to impress in Rome. The Italian knocked out sixth seed Dominic Thiem earlier this week and will now feature in his fourth Masters 1000 quarter-final after defeating Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Juan Martin Del Potro retired hurt while 6-4, 5-4 down against ninth seed David Goffin, while Marin Cilic eased past Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-4.

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