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Rome Masters: Nadal faces Fognini for semi-final spot

Rome Masters: Nadal faces Fognini for semi-final spot
Tennis - Australian Open - Quarterfinals - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 23, 2018. Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after losing a game before retiring from his match against Marin Cilic of Croatia. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Rome: World number two Rafael Nadal will continue his quest for record-breaking eighth Rome Masters title when he locks horns with Fabio Fognini of Italy in the quarter-finals of the men’s singles event here on Friday.

Yesterday, the Spanish tennis maestro booked his place in the last-eight of the tournament after registering a comfortable 6-4, 6-1 win over Denis Shapovalov of Canada in a one-sided third round clash that lasted one hour and 22 minutes.

He will now square off with Italy’s Fognini for a place in the semi-finals.

Fognini, on the other hand, backed up his impressive victory over world number eight Dominic Thiem of Austria with a convincing 6-4, 6-4 win over Peter Gojowczyk of Germany in their round-of-16 at Foro Italico.

While Nadal has improved his match record in Rome to 53-6, Fognini is through to his fourth Masters 1000 quarter-final or better.

Earlier this month, Nadal’s 21-match winning streak on the clay court and 50-set winning streak was broken by Austria’s Dominic Thiem in their last-eight clash of the Madrid Open.

As a result, the 31-year-old lost his top rank to long-time rival Roger Federer in the updated ATP Rankings, but Nadal can retain his top spot with a win at the Rome Masters. He had last month also won his 11th Barcelona Open and 11th Monte Carlo Masters.

In another quarter-final clash, former world number one and Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic will square off with Japan’s Kei Nishikori for a place in the last-four. (ANI)