Nadal demolishes Shapovalov to zoom into Rome last eight

By Daily Sports on May 18, 2018

Views: 1,051

Rafael Nadal’s third-round victory was stamped with authority as he overcame a confident start from Denis Shapovalov to reach the quarter-finals of the Italian Open in Rome yesterday.

The 16-times Grand Slam winner secured a 6-4, 6-1 victory against his Canadian opponent, who is regarded as one of the rising stars in the next generation of tennis. 

Shapovalov staked his claim as a promising young talent when he beat Nadal in the Rogers Cup last year in Montreal — but that was on a hard court, and he knew he faced a much tougher task on clay. 

However, the 19-year-old took a bold approach, matching Nadal stroke for stroke from the baseline with his forehand, until a costly backhand error let the world number two pull away with a break and seal the first set.

Nadal, who will be aiming to collect his 11th French Open title at Roland Garros this month, stepped it up a gear in the second and moved ahead confidently.

Shapovalov, ranked 29 in the world, won a game on his own serve but it was a mere consolation as the Spanish clay court king racked up four straight games to book his place in the quarter-finals.

Nadal will play Fabio Fognini next after the Italian moved into the last eight with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk. 

Fourth seed Marin Cilic is safely through as he completed a 6-3, 6-4 win over France’s Benoit Paire to meet Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta, who rallied past Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2. 

Argentina’s fifth seed Juan Martin Del Potro will not be joining them, after he retired with a groin complaint at 2-6, 5-4 up in the second set against Belgium’s David Goffin. 

In the women’s draw, defending champion Elina Svitolina continued the defence of her Italian Open title after battling back from a set down to beat Daria Kasatkina. 

After a bad start on the clay, Ukraine’s world number four secured a 0-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory in a hard-fought contest to reach the quarter-finals. 

Angelique Kerber will be Svitolina’s opponent in the last eight after the German former world number one dispatched Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-1. 

Current world number one Simona Halep is likely to keep her status as the top-ranked player after she entered the quarter-finals without hitting a ball.

Her opponent Madison Keys withdrew from their match on Thursday morning due to a right rib injury.

Reaching the last eight was half the battle of staying at the top of the rankings, but Halep will need to go further than number two Caroline Wozniacki to retain her position. 

Fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko is also through after securing a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Britain’s Johanna Konta to book her place.  

Ostapenko, who will begin the defence of her French Open title later this month, adopted a more aggressive game after dropping the first set and wrapped up the match on a powerful and accurate serve.

Venus Williams, seeded eighth, is out after a 6-2, 7-6 (3) loss to Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit. (Aganecy report)

•Photo shows Nadal 

Source Daily Sports

Posted May 18, 2018


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