Nadal eases past Shapovalov into last eight of Italian Open

Rafael Nadal brushed aside the challenge of Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov with a 6-4, 6-1 victory to reach the Italian Open quarter-finals yesterday.

The 31-year-old will face Italian Fabio Fognini in the last eight as he looks to retake the world No.1 ranking from Roger Federer by winning an eighth Rome title this week.

Nadal has already won his 11th titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona during the current clay-court season, but has lost in the quarter-finals in each of the last three years in Italy.

He was far too strong for Shapovalov, taking 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.

Meanwhile, Romanian world No.1 Simona Halep cruised into the women's quarter-finals - without lifting a finger yesterday.

The top-seeded Halep was given a walkover as American Madison Keys withdrew because of a rib injury, reported the BBC.

French Open champion and fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko spoiled British No.1 Johanna Konta's 27th birthday by beating her 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

On Wednesday, world No. 5 Karolina Pliskova lost her cool over a line call and bashed a hole into the umpire's chair with her racket after suffering a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 defeat by Maria Sakkari in the second round. - AFP