Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka has been beaten 6-4, 6-1 in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters tournament by Spain’s Rafael Nadal.
Nadal overcame a slow start, aiming for his fifth title at the Foro Italico in six years.
He had trouble finding his range off Wawrinka's powerful serve but finally managed to break the 26th-ranked Swiss player to take the first set, then cruised from there.
Wawrinka, the 2008 runner-up, dropped only two points in his first four service games.
“The first set was level for a long time. He was holding serve much easier than me. All the games on my serve were harder than his,” Nadal said. “But at 5-4, I started to play really well with some good drop shots.”
Nadal improved his record on clay this season to 8-0, having won the Monte Carlo Masters two weeks ago.
Wawrinka was philosophical in defeat. “There’s nothing to say. Rafa is playing at his best level again. He will win other matches on clay.”
In another match, world number one Roger Federer and Swiss Davis Cup teammate Yves Allegro were eliminated from the doubles tournament by American pair John Isner and Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-4. Federer lost his opener in singles to Latvia's Ernests Gulbis on Tuesday.
swissinfo.ch and agencies