World number two Rafael Nadal continues his quest for the record-breaking eighth Rome Masters title when he locks horns with Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in the last-16 of the men’s singles event here on Thursday.
The Spaniard , who received a first-round bye, kicked off his campaign in Foro Italico with a comfortable 6-1, 6-0 win over Bosnian tennis star Damir Dzumhur in their round-of-32 clash that lasted exactly one hour.
He will now square off with 19-year-old Canadian Shapovalov for a place in quarter-finals.
Shapovalov, on the other hand, produced a spirited performance as he bounced back from a set down to clinch a 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3 win over Dutch veteran Robin Haase and stormed into the round-of-16.
Previously, Shapovalov defeated Nadal in three sets in the last-16 round at last year’s Canadian Open in Montreal. However, the victory was on a hard court surface and not on Nadal’s favourite clay-court.
Earlier, Nadal’s 21-match winning streak on the clay court and 50-set winning streak was broken by Austria’s Dominic Thiem in their last-eight clash of the Madrid Open.
As a result, the 31-year-old lost his top rank to long-time rival Roger Federer in the updated ATP Rankings, but Nadal can retain his top spot with a win at the Rome Masters. He had last month also won his 11th Barcelona Open and 11th Monte Carlo Masters.
Meanwhile, former world number one and Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic will take on Albert Ramos Vinolas of Spain for a place in the last-eight of the men’s singles event.
In women’s singles clash, American tennis star Venus Williams will also look to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament when she faces Estonian star Anett Kontaveit later today in their round-of-16.
Williams had earlier opened her campaign by brushing aside Russia’s Elena Vesnina 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in their last-32 clash. (ANI)