ATP Rome - Schedule: Nadal-Fognini headlines fantastic Friday

Rafael Nadal looks to seal last-eight spot at Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal looks to seal last-eight spot at Madrid Open

It was Nadal who won their first four matches, including twice on clay in 2013 when he defeated Fognini 6-1 6-3 in Rome and then in Paris where he triumphed 7-6 6-4 6-4. The Nadal/Shapovalov match took off as expected with the Canadian winning his service game and Nadal holding to level one game apiece.

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. "I started with some mistakes on the return but with my serve, I didn't lose many points". Nadal, also attempting to win the top spot back this week, will replace Roger Federer if he wins an eighth Rome title. He saved the first break point and delivered an ace serve to deuce.

"After a loss in Madrid, it's important to come back strong".

At 2:30 PM, Maria Sharapova, who guaranteed a spot as seed at the Roland Garros through the win over Daria Gavrilova, will face Jelena Ostapenko.

For rising German star Zverev it was a tenth consecutive win after back-to-back title runs at Munich and Madrid. Fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro emerged a 7-5, 6-3 victor over Barcelona runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas and Miami Open champion John Isner was edged 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-7 (5) by Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

At 4:00 PM, Novak Djokovic's and Kei Nishikori will end the day session.

Top women's seed Simona Halep demolished Japan's Naomi Osaka.

Rafa next faces the 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov, who recently became the Canadian No. 1.

Halep next plays 13th-seeded American Madison Keys, who battled past Croatian Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/0), for a place in the last eight.

"It was a solid match for me", said Nadal.

Venus Williams crashed out in a third round defeat by Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, 6/2; 7/6 (3) at the on-going Rome Open Tennis Championship. "Being able to play another quarter-final of a Masters event is great", Zverev said.

But despite having to scratch and sweat his way into holds, Shapovalov was even with Nadal at 3-3 in the first set, until a double-fault from Shapovalov handed Nadal his ninth break point of the set.

Croatia's Marin Cilic, the No. 4 seed, rallied past American Ryan Harrison 6-7 (3), 6-1, 7-6 (1) while fifth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro ousted Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3.

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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