Novak Djokovic set up an enticing quarter-final against Juan Martin del Potro at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Thursday, as Rafael Nadal extended his brilliant form on clay in 2017.
Djokovic defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 6-4 to progress to the last eight of the ATP 1000 event in Rome, where he will face Del Potro for a spot in the semi-finals.
The Argentine defeated seventh seed Kei Nishikori, 25 places above him in the rankings, 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 and will prove an awkward obstacle for the Serbian, who continues to struggle for consistency this season.
“I have been doing my best to optimise my game and get it to the highest possible level,” said Djokovic, who surprisingly parted company with his coaching staff earlier this month.
“I’m aware that the previous months haven’t gone the way that I wished in terms of results, but I believe that the process had to happen.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 18, 2017
In other matches, there were straight-sets wins for Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev, accounting for David Goffin, Tomas Berdych and Fabio Fognini respectively, the latter proving unable to build on his upset win over Andy Murray.
John Isner, meanwhile, got the better of 2008 finalist Stan Wawrinka, also in straight sets, while Dominic Thiem came from a set down to get past Sam Querrey.
ISNER OUSTS WAWRINKA
The biggest casualty of the day was US Open champion Wawrinka, American Isner surprising the world number three with a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 victory.
The Swiss was broken just once across the two sets but could not make inroads into the powerful serve of his towering opponent, saving match points in vain late in the second before bowing out.
Stuns the 3rd seed!@JohnIsner in to the QF