Rafael Nadal vs Fabio Fognini: Italian Open quarterfinal preview and prediction

Dominic Thiem

GETTYDominic Thiem was a losing finalist at last week's Madrid Open but beat Rafael Nadal on his run

epa06744903 Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Denis Shapovalov of Canada during their men's singles third round match of the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Italy, 17 May 2018. Djokovic, a four-time victor at Rome, had five aces in the match and will next face Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who rallied past eighth-seeded American John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) in two hours, 53 minutes.

The 37-year-old American was never in contention in the match with Kontaveit winning by a 6-2 scoreline in the first set before defeating Williams 7-3 on a tiebreak in the second.

"I just really wanted to win this match against a really classy player", said the five-time Grand Slam champion.

"I played very well today", said Thiem. I don't know how many mistakes I made, but not many.

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"We're finally connecting and I think that's the most handsome thing", Fognini said of the crowd, which whistled him off the court following an erratic performance a few years ago.

The four-time Rome champion is making his way back this year after a six-month injury absence before the Australian Open, which was followed by elbow surgery. I will play Lyon next week, and there I can adjust some things on my game.

Fourth-seeded Marin Cilic defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4. "It was important, after a loss in Madrid, to come back strong".

The world No 2 was expected to brush the 19-year-old aside easily and immediately piled on the pressure, forcing three break point opportunities in the first game of the match.

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Zverev will next play ninth-seeded David Goffin, who was leading 6-2, 4-5 when Juan Martin del Potro retired because of a groin injury. Halep needed to reach at least the last eight and go further than world number two Caroline Wozniacki to retain the top ranking going into the French Open.

Venus Williams, who won the Rome title back in 1999 and is bidding for her 50th career title this week, got her first win on clay this season. It is a testament to his quality that he has wins over Nadal and Murray, as well as Kei Nishikori, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych when they were top ten players.

At 2:30 PM, Maria Sharapova, who guaranteed a spot as seed at the Roland Garros through the win over Daria Gavrilova, will face Jelena Ostapenko.

The Romanian, a finalist in Rome previous year, is on her way to holding on to top spot as she next plays France's Caroline Garcia who dumped out US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-1, 7-6 (9/7).

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The victor will play Anett Kontaveit, who ousted 1999 champion Venus Williams 6-2, 7-6 (3).

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