Nadal sweeps into Rome semi-finals

Rafael Nadal came through 6-4, 6-0 against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. (AFP pic)

ROME: Defending champion Rafael Nadal swept past fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco to book his place in the semi-finals of the Italian Open on Friday.

The eight-time Rome champion came through 6-4, 6-0 in 1hr 38min to set up a clash with Greek eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the final.

Roger Federer’s withdrawal with a right leg injury earlier in the day had handed Tsitsipas a ticket to the last four.

The 32-year-old Nadal, seeded second, is bidding for his first clay-court title this season before chasing a 12th French Open crown at Roland Garros starting on May 26.