Rafael Nadal suffers defeat to Dominic Thiem at Rome Masters

Rafael Nadal's winning streak ended at 17 matches as he lost in straight sets to Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open on Friday.

The world number seven broke Nadal twice in the first set, with his range of shots meaning the seven-time Italian Open champion could never settle.

Thiem - whose solitary win in this head to head came at last year's Argentina Open - was quickly into his stride, a couple of vicious one-handed backhands helping him to an opening-game break, even as Nadal landed all six first serves.

But Nadal sealed titles in Barcelona and Madrid with comfortable wins in the finals of both those tournaments.

In the final quarter-final of the day unseeded Argentinian Juan del Potro, who beat Britain's Kyle Edmund in the second round, faces former four-time champion and second seed Novak Djokovic.

And Thiem ultimately sealed only his second victory over Nadal by earning another break to prevail 6-4 6-3 in Rome. One backhand victor from the back of the court with Nadal at the net was especially memorable.

It was then that Nadal finally had some joy against the serve, but Thiem kept his cool at 40-40, with the Spaniard forced to all corners of the court before being outdone by a thunderbolt forehand victor.

The Spaniard will now focus on the French Open, where he will be aiming for a 10th title at Roland Garros.

In the women's tournament Simona Halep continued her good run on clay as she booked a spot in the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over qualifier Anett Kontaveit.

Zverev beat fifth seed and 2014 semi-finalist Milos Raonic 7-6 (1), 6-1.

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