Rafael Nadal Ruthless In Rome, Beats Dusan Lajovic For QF Spot

Nadal cruises against Lajovic in Rome to join Djokovic in last eight

Djokovic beat his fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7), 6-3, while Nadal won 6-1, 6-3 against Dusan Lajovic, also of Serbia.

Nadal proved too strong for 25th-ranked Lajovic, who had valiantly but vainly launched a fightback after trailing 4-0 in the second set to the Spaniard.

The top seed is warming for the French Open in 10 days time, a tournament the 17-time Grand Slam victor claimed in 2016.

"Much better, not what I expected".

A champion at his last event in Acapulco in February, Nadal takes a seven-match winning streak into his quarterfinal clash against Diego Schwartzman, the No.8 seed who beat Hubert Hurkacz in three.

The nine-time Rome victor came through 6-1, 6-3 against the 25th-ranked Lajovic, who had valiantly but vainly launched a fightback after trailing 4-0 in the second set to the Spaniard.

Nadal, 34, won his first Rome title back in 2005, and is bidding for a third consecutive crown on clay in the Italian capital and 10th in total. "(It was) another great evening for me against another good opponent. I just want to keep enjoying tennis.

Before this week he had not played since winning in Acapulco in February, opting to skip the United States hard court tour.


Halep, the top seed, next faces Yulia Putintseva, who recovered from 6-4 5-2 down to beat 10th seed Elena Rybakina. Her last win was in Prague a month ago.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic also met little trouble in her 6-4, 6-3 win over Russia's Anna Blinkova.

Pablo fended off two break chances with winners in the second set's opening game, followed by another commanding hold from the more experienced Spaniard to lock the result at 1-1.

Italian wildcard Jannik Sinner pulled off a stunning upset in the second round when he beat third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-7 (9-11), 6-2 to take revenge on the Greek who beat him in straight sets at the same stage past year.

But the 22-year-old Russian was unable to build on her advantage against the former world number one, who next meets 11th seed Elise Mertens after she got past Danta Kovinic 6-4, 6-4.

Rome resident Matteo Berrettini defeated Argentina Federico Coria 7-5, 6-1; and wild-card entry Stefano Travaglia eliminated US Open quarter-finalist Borna Coric 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 in a solid day for the host nation.

Former Rome victor Elina Svitolina got past two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (8/6), 6-4. "It was a great battle", said Djokovic, who is playing his first tournament since being defaulted from the US Open.

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