Rafael Nadal battled through to the quarter-finals of the Italian Open after beating Denis Shapovalov in three sets ©Getty Images

Rafael Nadal came from a set down to battle through in a final set tie-break and reach the quarter-finals of the Association of Tennis Professionals Italian Open in Rome.

The Spaniard, who is second seed for the Masters 1000 tournament at the Foro Italico lost the first set 6-3 to Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, the 13th seed.

Nadal, who was eliminated at the last eight stage in Madrid last week, fought back and took the second set 6-4, before edging the decider 7-6 (7-3), in a contest that lasted three hours and 27 minutes.

Sixth seed Alex Zverev of Germany, the man responsible for Nadal’s early exit last week, also battled back from a set down today, as he overcame Japan’s Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-3 6-4, setting up a rematch against the Spaniard in the last eight tomorrow.

Top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia cruised through in the opening match of the day dropping just three games as he beat Spanish qualifier Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-1.

The highest profile casualty on the men’s side was fourth seed Dominic Thiem who was defeated under the floodlights in the last match of the day by Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

Women's top seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia reached the quarter-finals with a straight sets win in Rome ©Getty Images
Women's top seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia reached the quarter-finals with a straight sets win in Rome ©Getty Images

Sonego won 6-4 6-7 7-6 in another epic contest that lasted three hours and 24 minutes, but was completed in front of an empty stadium as fans had to be cleared out due to a 10pm curfew being in place in the city.

Other men’s matches in the last 16 today included fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece beating ninth seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy 7-6 6-2, while seventh seed Andrey Rublev was also victorious, overcoming Roberto Bautista-Agut of Spain 6-4 6-4.

Meanwhile at the Women’s Tennis Association Premier 1000 tournament, being held at the same venue, top seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia ran out a 6-3 6-3 winner against Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova.

The highest profile seed to exit today on the women’s side was seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, champion in Madrid a week ago, who lost 7-5 6-3 to American teenager Cori Gauff, who now plays Barty in the last eight.

Two more top ten seeds advanced today, with fifth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine beating Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, the 12th seed, 6-4 6-2 and ninth seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic overcoming Vera Zvonareva of Russia 7-5 6-3.

Two former Grand Slam champions, both unseeded this week, also met in the last 16 stage today with Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia overhauling Germany’s Angelique Kerber 4-6 6-3 6-4.