Djokovic beats Agut to reach Italian Open QFs

Second seed Novak Djokovic said he is on track to raise his game for the French Open after reaching the Rome Masters quarter-finals Thursday with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain s Roberto Bautista Agut.

Djokovic was moving around the court more freely than he has been for much of this season, breaking to lead 4-3 when Bautista Agut netted a backhand and wrapping up the opening set after saving a first break point in the next game.

Nadal is enjoying his best tennis on clay for the past two seasons but played just three games of his second-round match with Nicolas Almagro on Wednesday before his fellow Spaniard retired through injury.

The Serb clinched the match at the fourth time of asking after Bedene sailed a forehand long after an hour and 46 minutes on court.

Bautista Agut - on his favoured surface - made nothing easy for Djokovic but the Serbian No. 1 stood up to everything thrown at him to secure an important 6-4 6-4 win. "I'm going out there against the No. 3 player in the world".

"I love this tournament, and I love Rome", Williams said. "Maybe I have a little bit less to lose than he does", Isner said.

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Djokovic, beaten in the final by Britain's Andy Murray a year ago, will now face Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters after the unseeded Argentinian's 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 win over Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori. That's what happened today.

Isner next faces another big server in sixth-seeded Marin Cilic, who dismissed ninth-seeded David Goffin 6-3, 6-4.

Zverev, the 16th seed, will meet Canada's world No 6 Milos Raonic after the Wimbledon finalist comfortably defeated Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-2.

In the women s tournament, Venus Williams overcame determined Briton Johanna Konta to win their third-round clash 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

"You know, I have had a good amount of success here". The Czech next faces eighth-seeded Elina Svitolina, who recovered to beat Mona Barthel 3-6, 6-0, 6-0. Kontaveit beat 16th-seeded Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-1, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal against Madrid Open champion Simona Halep.

Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova, the seventh seed, suffered a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 defeat to Australian qualifier Daria Gavrilova.

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