Rafael Nadal gains measure of revenge against Denis Shapovalov in Rome

Marcus Newton
May 18, 2018

Shapovalov saved eight break points in his opening two service games before finally dropping his serve midway through the first set Thursday. After seeing his second set lead cut to 2-1, Nadal went on to win the next four games, putting away Shapovalov with a break to end the match in straight sets. 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. It is a testament to his quality that he has wins over Nadal and Murray, as well as Kei Nishikori, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych when they were top ten players.

Shapovalov, 19, stunned Nadal in the third round in Montreal a year ago to deny the Spaniard a chance to regain the No 1 spot. And that's what I did today.

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.

Fognini battled hard to reach the quarters, coming from 2-4 down in the opening set to beat German Peter Gojowczyk 6-4 6-4.

Defending champion Alexander Zverev needed eight match points before completing a 7-5, 7-6 (11) win over Kyle Edmund. Djokovic, a four-time victor at Rome, had five aces in the match and will next face Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who rallied past eighth-seeded American John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) in two hours, 53 minutes.

The 21-year-old will play Belgian David Goffin after the ninth seed advanced when Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro retired while trailing 6-2, 4-5 with a groin injury.

In the women's tournament, Simona Halep's hold on the No 1 ranking received a boost when American Madison Keys withdrew from their last-16 match due to a rib injury.

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Dane Wozniacki was given a scare by Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova before closing out the match 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

Last year, Halep rolled her ankle in the final and lost a lead and the championship to Elina Svitolina.

Thiem was already looking ahead to the French Open, which starts on May 27.

Next up for Ramos-Vinolas is a meeting with Novak Djokovic, who eased past Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 6-2.

Halep will next play either U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens or seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia.

Kontaveit, 22, won through 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) against the 37-year-old American who was seeded eighth in a tournament she won almost two decades ago in 1999.

Former world number one Karolina Pliskova took centre stage for smashing the umpire's chair with her racket instead of shaking hands after losing to Greece's Maria Sakkari after an incorrect line call.

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