Nadal avenges Shapovalov defeat; Djokovic through
ROME— Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal methodically wore down Denis Shapovalov, 6-4, 6-1, Thursday to reach the Italian Open’s last eight and gain revenge over the Canadian teenager.
Four-time Rome winner Novak Djokovic reached his first quarterfinal of the year with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Alberto Ramos-Vinolas.
Djokovic next faces Kei Nishikori, who rolled past Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-2.
The 19-year-old Shapovalov stunned Nadal in the third round in Montreal last year to deny the Spanish player a chance to regain the No. 1 spot.
Nadal is also attempting to win the top spot back this week. He’ll replace Roger Federer if he wins an eighth Rome title.
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.
“He was really serving big and I had some mistakes with the return,” Nadal said. “It was not a comfortable match against a lefty who serves big and goes for his shots.
“He’s good in all aspects. The only thing he needs is a little bit more time.”
Shapovalov was stretched to three sets in his opening two matches, against 15th-seeded Tomas Berdych and Robin Haase, and reached the semifinals of last week’s Madrid Open.
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