Djokovic beats Bautista Agut to reach Italian Open QFs

Rafael Nadal talks about staying perfect on clay at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome. Watch live matches

After being humbled by Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open on Saturday, Djokovic appears to now be much closer to the player who held all four Grand Slam titles midway through 2016 as he looks to mount a challenge not only for his fifth title in Rome but also his second in Paris.

The Spaniard was too strong and too clever for Jack Sock, winning 6-3 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.

However, he regained his composure and found a way through and will now face either Kei Nishikori or Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals, with several high-profile stars already into the last-eight. "But I ll keep fighting".

The 27-year-old started the match in positive fashion with a break in the opening game but handed that advantage straight back in the next before the pair shared the following 10 games to take the set into a tie-break.

"I went out there with the belief that if I played well and executed my game plan that I could walk off that court with a win", said Isner. "I think I played very well, was very aggressive from the baseline".

Meanwhile, unseeded American John Isner battled into the Rome Masters semis with a 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 7-6 (7/2) win over Croatian sixth seed Marin Cilic.

Murray's best performance was winning the Dubai title in February, but he looks to be struggling to replicate the blistering displays that carried him to the number one spot at the end of past year.

Nadal's quarterfinal opponent will be eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem, who saved three match points to beat American Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7).

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, the 16th seed who is the youngest player in the ATP top 50, will meet the victor of the clash between Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic, to be played later Thursday.

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.

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

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