Rafael Nadal (AP photo)
ROME: Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal saved two match points to defeat Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in a three-set battle and advance to the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Thursday.
Second seed Nadal won through 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) after nearly 3hr 30min on court against the 13th-seeded Shapovalov.
Nadal was trailing a set and 0-3 down in the second set before powering back.
Shapovalov also broke for 3-1 in the third set but Nadal broke back immediately and held on despite two match points against him in the 12th game to force a tie-break.
The Spaniard reached his 16th last-eight appearance in Rome and a 97th ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final.
The 34-year-old will next play either Germany’s Alexander Zverev, the sixth seed, or Japan’s Kei Nishikori for a place in the semi-finals.
Nadal lost to Zverev in the Madrid Masters quarter-finals last week.