Nadal Dispatches Shapovalov To Advance At Rome Open

Jo Caldwell
May 18, 2018

Nadal finally got the break and Shapovalov did not get a point against serve until game eight - he only had two when the world number two closed out the first set by forcing the Canadian deep and wide before rushing to the net to close the angles.

Nadal immediately outlined his intention to put his opponent under pressure, engineering eight break points in the teenager's opening two service games. "I started with some mistakes on the return but with my serve, I didn't lose many points". He'll replace Roger Federer at No. 1 if he wins an eighth Rome title. 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.

Nadal will be keen to settle scores with him after suffering a narrow three-set defeat to Shapovalov at the latter's home at the Montreal Masters a year ago. "I think this was probably one of the three matches that I played this way in the past 12 months".

Seven-time champion Nadal - seeking to reclaim the number-one ranking he conceded last week - hammered Dzumhur 6-1 6-0 after Thiem had gone down in three sets to Fabio Fognini, the Austrian smashing a racquet in anger during an intense contest. Fognini got past Germany's Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4.

Belgian Goffin was leading 6-2 4-5 against fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro when the Argentine was forced to retire with what appeared to be a groin injury that throws his participation at the French Open into doubt.

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Fourth-seeded Marin Cilic defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4.

In the women's tournament, Simona Halep's hold on the No 1 ranking received a boost when American Madison Keys withdrew from their last-16 match due to a rib injury.

Halep now needs to progress further than No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki to stay in top spot.

The 21-year-old from Hamburg next meets Britain's Kyle Edmund, who beat Djokovic in the Madrid second round, and got past Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) in Rome on Wednesday.

Next up for Ramos-Vinolas is a meeting with Novak Djokovic, who eased past Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 6-2.

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By contrast, Sharapova needed two and a half hours to master 18th-ranked Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in their first round match.

On the Next Gen Arena Angelique Kerber faces the defending champion Elina Svitolina.

Williams had earlier opened her campaign by brushing aside Russia's Elena Vesnina 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in their last-32 clash.

This is the last major warmup for the French Open, which starts in 10 days.

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