Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal advanced to the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Friday with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Serb Dusan Lajovic. The Spaniard, who is defending his title in Rome, was comfortable throughout, only dropping four games to his Serbian opponent.
“First set it was 6-1 but super tough beginning of the match,” Rafa reflected. “I know Dusan can produce great shots; he’s a player with a lot of spin and a lot of power. I needed consistency and to make him play from uncomfortable positions…. To start the tournament with these victories is great news.”
The second seed will next face Diego Schwartzman on Saturday in another late match scheduled for 8.30 PM CET. The Argentine came back from one set down to beat dangerous Pole Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 after two hours and nine minutes.
Rafa is leading 9-0 in the head-to-head ratio against Schwartzman, with seven of those victories coming in straight sets.
Our champ on playing Diego:
“Always has been very tough against him. I know I will have to play well if I’m going to have a chance.”