Rafael Nadal had to deal with a minor wobble before finishing off a 6-1, 6-3 demolition of Dusan Lajovic  on Friday which put the Spaniard into a 15th quarter-final at the Rome Masters.

The second seed who is in the hunt for a 10th trophy at the Foro Italico, was motoring 6-1, 6-1, when his Serb opponent managed to break.

With Lajovic suddenly inspired by success, Nnadal had to reign in the No. 25 before further damage was done.

The 19-time Grand Slam winner who is playing his first event in six months due to the COVID-19 shutdown of the sport, controlled the damage to prevail in 90 minutes as he broke Lajovic in the final game on an empty showcourt at the Foro Italico.

Nadal ended with 17 winners and the same number of unforced errors, converting on six of 14 break chances.

He will next play Argentine pocket rocket Diego Schwartzman, who defeated Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

“The first set looked easy but it was super-tough, a lot of good points,” Nadal said. “It was important for me to win after such a long time away..

“I needed consistency to win. I wanted to keep him playing from the back of the court, not in a comfortable position.”

Nadal owns Schwartzman 9-0 but is wary of the South American.

“It’s always a tough and tricky match with him. I have to play very well if I want to have chances.”


Leave a Reply