Defending champion Rafa Nadal takes on Denis Shapovalov in a tasty Third Round tie at the 2022 Italian Open in…
Defending champion Rafa Nadal takes on Denis Shapovalov in a tasty Third Round tie at the 2022 Italian Open in Rome on Thursday.
Nadal has hit the ground running in 2022, winning 23 of his 25 matches so far and picking up three titles, including the Australian Open.
The 35-year-old claimed the Mexican Open title without dropping a single set, while his first defeat of the season came at the hands of Taylor Fritz in the final at Indian Wells.
The Spanish legend was then beaten in three sets by his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in the Quarter-Finals of the Madrid Open as the 19-year-old went on to claim an historic title on home soil.
Nadal is looking to build up a head of steam ahead of the upcoming French Open later this month, and a strong run here would prove ideal preparation.
He has dominated this competition on his beloved clay surface, winning the title on ten occasions since 2005, including three of the last four stagings.
Nadal eased past John Isner 6-3, 6-1 in his opening match this week and now faces a tough test against the number 13 seed.
Shapovalov has won 15 out of 23 matches so far this season and was a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open – where he was denied by Nadal in a five-set thriller.
Semi-finalist at the Dubai Tennis Championships, Shapovalov was beaten by Andy Murray in the Last 16 of the recent Madrid Open and is looking to recapture his top form against another of the sport’s greats.
He began his run this week by defeating Lorenzo Sonego before seeing off Nikoloz Basilashvili to set up a show-down with Nadal.
Nadal has won four of their five previous meetings, though it was the Canadian who won their first in the Last 16 of the 2017 Canadian Open.
Either fifth seed Casper Rudd or Jenson Brooksby will await the winner in the Quarter-Finals on Friday.
Nadal v Shapovalov is available to watch via a live stream on desktop, mobile or tablet devices from approximately 6pm BST.
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