Second-seeded Novak Djokovic and fourth-seeded Rafael Nafal advanced to the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia with straight-set wins on Thursday in Rome, but American John Isner pulled off an upset by eliminating third-seeded Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (1), 6-4.
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.
World number two Novak Djokovic beats Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 6-4 in the last 16 of the Italian Open.
"It's a situation for me where I'm going out there against the No. 3 player in the world. The last time we played I won in Paris past year, the indoor tournament in Paris", added Isner.
Djokovic, beaten in the final by Britain's Andy Murray previous year, will now face Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters after the unseeded Argentinian's third round 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 win over Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori. "Maybe I have a little bit less to lose than he does", Isner said. That's what happened today.More news: White and Rockhold trade shots on social media
Isner, meeting Wawrinka for the first time in six years, will now face Marin Cilic after the sixth seed from Croatia beat Belgian David Goffin, the ninth seed, 6-3, 6-4. All the players are aiming to raise their level of tennis as we're approaching Paris, but especially here in Rome at one of the biggest and best tournaments in the world.
In the women s tournament, Venus Williams overcame determined Briton Johanna Konta to win their third-round clash 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.
Zverev will next face fifth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic, who defeated Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2. "It's one of my favorite places on earth, so that's one of the reasons why I have always come here".
Djokovic recently broke off his association with his coaching staff, playing in Madrid accompanied on the bench by his brother, Marko, and he said on Monday that he has not yet decided who will be his next coach.
First round: Anette Kontaveit bt Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-4; Ekatarina Makarova bt Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-1; Kiki Bertens bt Monica Nicolescu 2-6, 6-2, 6-1; Daria Gavrilova bt Madison Keys 2-6, 7-5, 7-5.