Rafael Nadal continues his hunt for an eighth Italian Open title on Wednesday when he takes on Denis Shapovalov for a place in the quarter finals. Nadal is a seven-time champion in Rome but has not won the event since 2013 or made the final since 2014.
Nadal bounced back from his Madrid loss with a demolition of Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur to begin the tournament. He needed just an hour to complete his crushing 6-0 6-1 victory, his best win of the season to date. “I went on court with the right intensity. I don’t know how many mistakes I did, but not much. And having the control, more or less, of a high percentage of the points. So that was the way that I want to play. And today was a positive day, of course.” he said afterwards.
It was a bit tougher for Denis Shapovalov, who edged a three setter against Robin Haase to book his place in the third round. He had already become Canadian No.1 after his opening round win against Tomas Berdych and has been progressing up the rankings nicely over the past year – having been just inside the top 200 going into Roland Garros in May 2017. “I’ve worked hard to try to achieve this a long time in my career. It’s crazy that it’s come so early.
But, yeah, that’s exciting for me. It’s great news. It’s a reason to keep working, keep staying motivated.” he said upon hearing that news.
Shapovalov already has a win over Nadal, having shocked the Spaniard at home in Canada last year. The third set tiebreak win came as part of an epic run to the semi finals that also included a victory over Juan Martin Del Potro. The Canadian shouldn’t go into this match with any fear but the chances of repeating that victory look fairly slim right now.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets