Rafael Nadal to face Fabio Fognini in the Rome Masters quarter-finals

Rafael Nadal stayed on course for an eighth Rome Masters title by seeing off Denis Shapovalov to set up a quarter-final with Fabio Fognini.

Top-seed Nadal brushed aside the challenge of Canadian teenager Shapovalov with a comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory.

The 31-year-old will face Italian Fognini in the last eight as he looks to retake the world No 1 ranking from Roger Federer.

Nadal took the opening set with a break in the seventh game before racing through the second to gain a measure of revenge for his shock defeat by the 19-year-old in Montreal last year.

“It was a tough first set,” Nadal said. “I’m happy for the victory against a difficult opponent and looking forward to the quarter-final.

“He’s [Fognini] is a tough player and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Fognini backed up his impressive victory over world No 8 Dominic Thiem on Wednesday with a dominant 6-4 6-4 victory over Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk in the opening match of the day’s schedule.

Pablo Carreno Busta appeared set to record a comfortable straight-sets victory over Aljaz Bedene when he moved 5-0 ahead in the second set, but the world No 65 Slovenian fought back and saved two match points to force a deciding set.

Despite the setback, the Spaniard managed to reassert his control on proceedings with two breaks of serve to secure a quarter-final encounter with fourth-seed Marin Cilic after the Croatian beat France’s Benoit Paire 6-3 6-4.

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