Rafael Nadal responded to doubts over his type with a straight-set win towards sixth seed Alexander Zverev within the Italian Open quarter-finals.
It was a measure of revenge for the second seed, who misplaced to Zverev within the Madrid quarter-finals final week.
The 34-year-old will now face American world quantity 47 Reilly Opelka.
Opelka reached the semi-finals of a Masters 1,000 for the primary time by beating Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.
“I am stunned, clay’s not likely my factor, not an American factor, it is in all probability only a fluke,” mentioned Opelka, who entered the match on a six-match shedding streak.
Serbia’s world primary Novak Djokovic will resume his quarter-final match towards Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday, after play was suspended on Friday due to rain.
Tsitsipas was main 6-4 2-1 earlier than play was halted for a second time, having led 4-3 earlier than a three-hour 30-minute watch for circumstances to enhance.
Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev meets Italian Lorenzo Sonego within the remaining last-eight match.
Nadal overcomes Zverev and a worrying tumble
Nadal is bidding for his first Masters 1,000 title of the season on his favoured clay floor, having misplaced to Rublev within the Monte Carlo quarter-finals after which happening to Germany’s Zverev on the similar stage in Madrid.
Apart from final 12 months, when Monte Carlo and Madrid weren’t performed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Nadal has reached at the very least one of many three clay-court Masters finals in each season since 2005.
With Opelka subsequent, Nadal is the overwhelming favorite to succeed in Sunday’s remaining after ending a run of three straight defeats towards 24-year-old Zverev.
“I am comfortable, I performed a strong match with not many errors,” mentioned 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal. “I used to be capable of management the sport a little bit bit greater than Madrid.”
There was an damage concern for Nadal, nonetheless, when he tumbled to the court docket in what proved to be the ultimate sport of the opening set.
Nadal turned his ankle on a raised service line as he stretched ahead for a drop shot and, with the stadium falling silent in concern, was sprawled out on the clay for just a few moments afterwards.
He was capable of climb to his toes and didn’t require any remedy, responding by preventing off a break level to carry serve and seal the opening set.
A single break of serve – for a 3-2 lead – was sufficient for Nadal to clinch the second set and match, though he needed to dig deep and stay composed to cease Zverev taking any of seven break factors in that set.