Fognini fires up Italian Open crowd with win over Thiem

Sherman Parsons
May 18, 2018

Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal methodically wore down Denis Shapovalov in a 6-4, 6-1 win to reach the Italian Open quarterfinals and gain a measure of revenge against the Canadian teenager.

Another former champion also advanced as Novak Djokovic got past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-1, 7-5 to reach his first quarterfinal of the year.

Earlier, Fabio Fognini got the Italian Open crowd fired up with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win over sixth-seeded Thiem.

"It was a positive match, of course", said Nadal, as quoted by the Express.

"I didn't feel completely dead out there but I felt like I could've been fresher", Shapovalov said.

"It's true that I had 15-40 and a couple of break points in the first game, 15-40 and a couple of break points in the second return game and I didn't make them". That's the entire list of active players who hold a winning record against Rafael Nadal. "And that's what I did today", said Nadal, who is targeting an eighth Rome title and first since 2013.

Defending champion Elina Svitolina eased into the third round while three-time victor Maria Sharapova needed a marathon three sets to get past Australian Ashleigh Barty.

Number one seed Simona Halep of Romania made it through to the quarter-finals before a ball was struck as her opponent, Madison Keys of the U.S., had to retire hurt before she took to the court. I will play Lyon next week, and there I can adjust some things on my game.

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Nishikori, who like Djokovic is trying to come back from injury, was in complete control against Philipp Kohlschreiber, defeating the German 6-1 6-2.

Elsewhere in the men's event, number five seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina exited the tournament as he had to retire hurt from his match against ninth seeded Belgian David Goffin.

To stay in top spot, Halep needs to progress further than No 2 Caroline Wozniacki, who was facing 15th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova in a late match.

Venus Williams fell to her second defeat in a week to Estonia's Anett Kontaveit losing in the third round match in straight sets in 1hr 19min.

By contrast, Sharapova needed two and a half hours to master 18th-ranked Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in their first round match.

The 21-year-old from Hamburg next meets Britain's Kyle Edmund, who beat Djokovic in the Madrid second round, and got past Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) in Rome on Wednesday.

Halep plays US Open champion Sloane Stephens or seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia.

Defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine fought back from a first set wipeout against Daria Kasatkina to win 0-6, 6-3, 6-2.

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