Nadal Dispatches Shapovalov To Advance At Rome Open

Dominic Thiem Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal celebrates his win at the Rome Masters on WednesdayWhat's the story?

Previously, Shapovalov defeated Nadal in three sets in the last-16 round at last year's Canadian Open in Montreal.

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

Next for Novak will be Kei Nishikori who he just beat in the opening round at Madrid last week. The 29th ranked player was behind 15-30 but delivered an ace to level. Shapovalov reasserted himself late and dictating the pace of the tiebreak.

The second set was a one-way affair. Haase didn't help his cause with three double-faults in the final set.

Nadal immediately outlined his intention to put his opponent under pressure, engineering eight break points in the teenager's opening two service games.

Italy's top player came out wearing a black shirt with a red lightning bolt design down his chest and he was energized from the start, grazing the flower beds lining the court to return Thiem's high-bouncing topspin serves and frustrating the Austrian with well-placed lobs and touch volleys. "It was just him, he was very pumped playing at home".

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.

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.

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"Isner is in great shape, but Ramos is always a tricky guy to play against on slow clay", said Djokovic, who is 5-0 against Ramos-Vinolas in tour matches without dropping a set. In the final game, Thiem smashed his racket into a mangled wreck and handed it to a befuddled fan in the front row.

"It was important, after a loss in Madrid, to come back strong, and that's what I did today", said Nadal following his demolition of Dzumhur. "They finally understand me".

But Fognini is a wily clay courter indeed. "I think I deserved it at the end".

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In the women's tournament, top seeds Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the third round in straight sets.

Cilic faces 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who beat Aljaz Bedene 6-4 6-7 (7-3) 6-2.

The Czech went on to lose that game and the match 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours 21 minutes. In the middle of the sixth game the Chair Umpire over-ruled a call after inspecting the point where the ball landed.

The Romanian, a finalist in Rome a year ago, 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).

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