Nadal loses 6-4, 6-3 to Thiem in Italian Open quarterfinals

Nadal meets Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals after the Austrian beat American Sam Querrey in a match that went down to the wire, with Thiem winning the match 3-6 6-3 7-6. I know [it] is a tough tournament. "But in general terms I am happy with the way that I played, obviously".

Thiem wrapped the win up with a break of serve to extend his record on clay this year to 17-3 and set up a semi-final encounter with either Novak Djokovic or Juan Martin del Potro.

Alexander Zverev produced an accomplished display to overcome Canadian fifth seed Milos Raonic 7-6 6-1 and set up a semi-final meeting with big-serving John Isner.

Thiem - whose solitary win in this head to head came at last year's Argentina Open - was quickly into his stride, a couple of vicious one-handed backhands helping him to an opening-game break, even as Nadal landed all six first serves.

Isner, ranked 24th in the world, reached the last eight on Thursday when he upset world No 3 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6 (7/1), 6-4.

In the women's tournament Simona Halep continued her good run on clay as she booked a spot in the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over qualifier Anett Kontaveit.

Williams will next take on Garbine Muguruza after the 2016 French Open champion beat Julia Gorges 7-5, 6-4. Kontaveit beat 16th-seeded Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-1, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal against Madrid Open champion Simona Halep.

Sharapova committed to the Aegon Classic for this year and next year in return for a wild card, British Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Michael Downey said. Nadal also had won the title in Rome seven times.

  • Julie Sanders