Rafael Nadal saved two match points as he recovered from a set and 3-0 down to escape with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) fightback win over Denis Shapovalov on Thursday at the Rome Masters.
The second seed and nine-time champion at the Foro Italico earned a win after almost three and a half hours as limited crowds were allowed onto the grounds for the first time all week.
Nadal lost the first set to the Canadian who beat him four years ago in Montreal, and trailed 3-1 in both the second and third sets.
But the 35-year-old king of clay laid on another successful comeback effort to survive into the quarter-finals.
Shapovalov, seeded 13th, pounded 41 winners and had 46 unforced errors while Nadal ended with 29 winners and 37 UFE.
The Canadian notched a dozen aces and broke five times; Nadal went 4 for 14 on breaks of serve.
Nadal saved a pair of Shapovalov match points in the 12th game of the third set to force what became a winning tiebreaker.
The Spaniard now owns 65 wins at the Italian venue; he stands 19-0 against fellow lefties with his last defeat by one of his own coming against Shapovalov four years ago.
“It’s an important victory for me, being able to win matches like today,” Nadal said.
“To be able to win these kind of matches against young players gives me confidence. It’s true that I have to do things better for tomorrow.
“But the main thing today for me is to recover physically, I fought until the end a lot to be in the quarter-finals. I hope to be able to compete well.”
Main photo:- Rafa Nadal comes back from a set and 0-3 down in Rome – by ATPTour.com