ROME – Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal on Thursday eased past Canadian rising star Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-1 to book a place in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open.
The seven-time champion needed just an hour and 23 minutes to defeat the world No. 29, who has shown improvement on clay and made a surprise run to the semifinals of last week’s Madrid Open.
The Spaniard was untouchable on his service games, not facing a single break point in the entire match.
He needed a few games to get completely dialed in on his return games, but then proceeded to grab a decisive break in the seventh game of the first set and break the 19-year-old Shapovalov’s serve three more times in the second set.
The victory was the Spaniard’s 53rd career win at the Foro Italico.
The 31-year-old Nadal got revenge for his defeat to the Canadian player in their only previous match – a third-round clash at the 2017 Rogers Cup, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 hard-court event played in Montreal.
Next up for Nadal on Friday will be 21st-ranked Italian Fabio Fognini, who reached the quarterfinals in Rome for the first time with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk.
The Italian Open is one of three Masters 1000 clay-court events and a key tune-up for the French Open, which gets under way on May 27.