Rome: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic reached quarterfinals of the Italian Open in contrasting style here on Thursday.
While Nadal struggled to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) in a three-and-a-half hour epic against 13th seed Denis Shapovalov, Djokovic cruised past Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2, 6-1.
Nadal, the nine-time champion, trailed 0-4 in the opening set, 0-3 in the second and saved two match points late in the third set as Shapovalov took control in their third-round clash. But Nadal grabbed the high-pressure moments and steadily raised his level to secure the victory for a spot in the last eight. This is Nadal’s 16th quarterfinal appearance in the tournament.
Serb world no. 1 Djokovic, on the other hand, entered quarterfinals for the 15th time in his 15th appearance in the tournament.
Djokovic, a five-time champion, broke serve in five of his seven return games to stretch his perfect record of quarter-final showings in the Italian capital.
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