Djokovic Survives Scare, Nadal Coasts Into Rome Semis


Rafael Nadal cleared past individual Spaniard Fernando Verdasco to book his place in the elimination rounds of the Italian Open on Friday.

The eight-opportunity Rome champion came through 6-4, 6-0 in 1hr 38min to set up a conflict with Greek eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas for a spot in the last.

Roger Federer’s withdrawal with correct leg damage prior in the day had given Tsitsipas a ticket to the last four.

The 32-year-old Nadal, seeded second, is offering for his first dirt court title this season before pursuing a twelfth French Open crown at Roland Garros beginning on May 26.

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman traveled past Japan’s Kei Nishikori in straight sets to progress to the elimination rounds.

Schwartzman, 26, won 6-4, 6-2 of every 87 minutes in the quarterfinal for his first win against previous US Open finalist Nishikori, the 6th seed, in Rome.

The 24th-positioned one-time French Open quarterfinalist has not dropped a set so far on the red earth of the Foro Italico and next faces world No 1 Novak Djokovic for a spot in the last after the Serb spared two match focuses in an exciting three-set win over previous US Open victor Juan Martin Del Potro.

Djokovic, victor in the Madrid Open a weekend ago, spared two match focuses in the second set tie-break before winning through 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 in a little more than three hours serving an expert on his first match point.


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