Rome: Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal continued his impressive clay-court season as he booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open after clinching straight sets victory over American Jack Sock last evening.
The fourth-seed produced a rich vein of form as he swept aside Sock 6-3, 6-4 in a third round clash that lasted one hour and 20 minutes. Nadal broke Sock’s serve twice in the second set and served out the match to set up a last-eight clash against Dominic Thiem, who was beaten by Nadal in the Madrid Masters final last week.
The Spanish maestro, who has won consecutive clay-court tournaments in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, has now extended his winning streak to 17 matches. Nadal is bidding for an eighth title at the Foro Italico as he prepares for the French Open in less than two weeks.
Meanwhile, world number two Novak Djokovic also sealed a quarter-final spot in the tournament for the 11th consecutive year by registering a 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in one hour and 42 minutes.
With the win, Djokovic has avenged his loss to the Spaniard at the Shanghai Rolex Masters in October 2016, and he now leads 6-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Djokovic will now face Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals after the unseeded Argentinian’s 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 win over Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori.