Tennis – ATP 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 17, 2019 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning its quarterfinals against Spain's Fernando Verdasco REUTERS / Matteo Ciambelli

ROME (Reuters) – Champion Rafael Nadal put an Italian open semifinal on Friday with Stefanos Tsitsipas thanks to a 6-4 6-0 victory over Fernando Verdasco.

One week after being beaten by the Greek start-up in the Madrid Open semis, the 32-year-old Nadal will be eager to prove that the loss to Tsitsipas was just a blip as he fine-tunes his game ahead of this month's French opening.

The 20-year-old Greek developed after Roger Federer pulled out with a right leg injury before their quarter-finals.

Nadal went down 2-0 before he survived three 4-4 breaks in the first set, but he pulled away by winning eight consecutive games to continue his quest for a ninth title in Rome.

Diego Schwartzman reached the last four with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori.

He will face either Novak Djokovic or Juan Martin del Potro for a place in the final.

Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing Pritha Sarkar

Our standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

(t) TOMIS (t) ROME (t) NADAL (t) Serbia (t) Switzerland (t) South America / Central America (t) Western Europe (t) Greece (t) Italy (t) Spain (t) Sport (s) Tennis (t) Europe

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