Del Potro books quarterfinal date with Djokovic

Juan Martin Del Potro eliminated Kei Nishikori with relative ease in the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia to set up a last eight meeting with No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic.

The Argentinean, who is playing at the Foro Italico for the first time since 2013, excelled in the one hour 54-minute encounter, proving too strong for the No. 7 seed as he ran out a 76(4) 63 winner.

“I am so glad to beat Kei. I think I played a really nice match. My game is improving in this surface, which means something important to my confidence,” said the 2009 US Open champion.

“I think I’m not very far away from my high level, so I’m happy for that. I’m looking forward to do it tomorrow against Novak.”

Del Potro’s victory sets up a quarterfinal clash against old rival Novak Djokovic, who survived a tough match against a stubborn Roberto Bautista Agut. The Serb prevailed 64 64 in one hour 41 minutes.

It will be an 18th meeting for Del Potro and Djokovic and their third so far this year. Djokovic has won both of their 2017 encounters and the two matches they have played on clay but they haven’t played on the red dirt since 2011.