Rafael Nadal beat Nick Kyrgios 6-7(3-7), 6-2, 6-4 to reach the Rome Masters 1000 quarter-finals on Thursday, and will face Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.
The Spaniard, who won both titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona previously this season, is just three matches away from winning his eighth crown on Italian clay after defeating his Australian opponent in two hours and thirty-nine minutes.
Nadal has been the ruler in Rome in recent times winning seven titles between 2005 and 2013.
He was, however, quashed in the 2014 final by Djokovic and in 2015 fell to Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals.
The 14-time Grand Slam winner dropped his serve in the opening game but soon gathered his composure to take control of the first set.
He then missed a great opportunity in the tenth game to seal the set, as his backhand went long by a metre.
Kyrgios won the eventual tie-break to go 1-0 up, but Nadal’s dominance soon took hold.
A double break in the second led to Kyrgios seeking medical attention on his right leg, although Nadal was already well into his rhythm and won it at a canter.
In the third it was all or nothing for the Australian, and he put up a laudable effort, but it wasn’t enough to tame Nadal.
Meanwhile, quarter-final opponent Djokovic beat Thomas Belluci in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.