Del Potro and Djokovic headline Friday’s quarterfinals line-up
Juan Martin del Potro and Novak Djokovic will meet for the 18th time when they take to the court for their last eight clash on Friday evening at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
The two players have already played twice this season, with Djokovic winning both of those meetings in three sets. The Serb also won when they played in the quarterfinals here in 2009, one of two occasions where they have played on clay. The other occurred at 2011 Roland Garros where Djokovic prevailed in four sets.
The Argentinean has been in great form this week however, and recorded his first clay court top 10 win since 2012 Roland Garros when he defeated No. 9 Kei Nishikori on Thursday.
Rafael Nadal will be looking to extend his 17-match winning streak when he faces Dominic Thiem for the third time in four weeks. The Spaniard defeated Thiem in the final of both Barcelona and Madrid and will be hoping he can recreate that kind of form once again on Friday and remain on course for his eighth Italian Open title.
No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza will be looking for her first victory over Venus Williams when the two meet in the first night match. The Roland Garros champion has won her first clay court matches of the season this week and will be hoping to maintain her run in Rome, while Williams, who is playing here for the 13th time, is bidding to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2009.
Madrid champion Simona Halep will get the Centre Court order of play underway when she takes on qualifier Anett Kontaviet in their quarterfinal meeting. The Romanian dropped just three games to the world No. 68 when they met in Madrid last week but Kontaveit has been in impressive form this week, taking out world No. 1 Angelique Kerber on her way to her second WTA Premier quarterfinal.
Fellow qualifier Daria Gavrilova will take on No. 15 seed Kiki Bertens on Next Gen Arena with a semifinal place at stake. The Australian is looking to reach the semifinals and equal the performance she produced here in 2015 while Bertens, who was a quarterfinalist in Madrid last week, needs a win on Friday in order to maintain her top 20 ranking.
Alexander Zverev will play No. 5 seed Milos Raonic for the first time when they meet on Centre Court. The talented German is the youngest player to reach the last eight at the Foro Italico since Djokovic in 2007 and will be hoping to prevent the big-serving Canadian from reaching the semifinals for the first time since 2014.
The remaining men’s quarterfinal will see John Isner, who knocked No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka out of the tournament on Thursday, face Marin Cilic on Next Gen Arena. The Croatian leads their head-to-head 6-1 but Isner won their most recent encounter in Paris last year.
No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova will face a tough battle against Elina Svitolina when the pair meet for their last eight showdown on Next Gen Arena. The Czech has won all five of their previous meetings but Svitolina has been in great form in 2017 and is the only player to have won three WTA titles.