Rafael Nadal avenges Madrid Open loss as he claims ‘important win’ against Alexander Zverev in Rome

Rafael Nadal sliding on the clay

Rafael Nadal cut out the errors and produced a solid performance to beat Madrid Open champion Alexander Zverev in straight sets at the Italian Open.

A week ago Nadal exited the Madrid event in the semi-final after suffering defeat at the hands fo Zverev, but seven days later he was the man who dished out the loss as he beat Zverev 6-3, 6-4 in the quarter-final in Rome.

After struggling against Denis Shapovalov in round three on Thursday, Nadal had no such problems against the German as he was always ahead after racing into a 4-0 lead with two breaks of serve.

Although Zverev managed to get one break back, the 20-time Grand Slam served it out while a single break in game five of the second set eased him over the finish line.

“[I am] happy. I played a very solid match with not many mistakes, playing the way that I have to,” he said. “[It is] an important victory for me against a great player.”

He added: “I think I played more solid than in Madrid. At the same time, conditions are different. In Madrid, he was able to create a lot of damage with his serve and then with the first shot.

“Here, the situation is a little bit different. [These are] a little bit more normal conditions on the clay, so I was able to control a little bit more the game than in Madrid.”

The Spaniard will face Reilly Opelka for a place in the final after the American reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) win over Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis.

“[I will face] a big chance against a player who has almost an unreturnable serve. [Reilly] is playing well,” Nadal said.

“I need to be very focussed with my serve and then try to be ready to accept [the situation] and be [engaged] on the return. That is what I am looking for.”

Follow us on Twitter @T365Official and like our Facebook page.