National Post (National Edition) - - POST SPORTS -

Seven-time cham­pion Rafael Nadal me­thod­i­cally wore down De­nis Shapo­valov 6-4, 6-1 Thurs­day to reach the Ital­ian Open quar­ter-fi­nals and gain re­venge against the Cana­dian teenager. The 19-year-old Shapo­valov, from Rich­mond Hill, Ont., stunned Nadal in the third round at the Rogers Cup in Mon­treal last year to deny the Span­ish player a chance to re­gain the No. 1 spot. Nadal is also at­tempt­ing to win the top spot back this week. He’ll re­place Roger Fed­erer if he wins an eighth Rome ti­tle. In a match be­tween two left­handers,

Shapo­valov saved eight break points in his open­ing two ser­vice games be­fore fi­nally drop­ping his serve mid­way through the first set. “He was re­ally serv­ing big and I had some mis­takes with the re­turn,” Nadal said. “He’s good in all as­pects. The only thing he needs is a lit­tle bit more time.” Shapo­valov was stretched to three sets in his open­ing two matches, against 15th-seeded To­mas Berdych and Robin Haase, and reached the semi­fi­nals of last week’s Madrid Open.

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