Rain causes Djokovic, Del Potro Saturday finish

The Serb lost to Rafael Nadal in last week's Madrid semi-finals, but his quick start in the Italian capital was just the tonic for Djokovic, who has never failed to reach the last eight in Rome.

Fognini, who failed once again to make it past the third round of his home tournament, had defeated British world No 1 Andy Murray on Tuesday evening to hinder the prospects of the three-time major victor repeating a deep run in Paris where he lost to Novak Djokovic a year ago.

Djokovic, beaten in the final by Britain's Andy Murray past year, will now face Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters after the unseeded Argentinian's third round 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 win over Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori.

Speaking to ATP's website, Ferrer, who turned pro in 2002, said: "The number indicates that I have been a very consistent player over many years, and many matches".

"I went out there with the belief that if I played well and executed my game plan that I could walk off that court with a win", said Isner.

"I played a more aggressive game and I'm serving better".

Thiem also beat an American but had to save two match points in a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory over Sam Querrey.

But French Open champion Djokovic said: "I m getting closer, I feel like today s match was one of the better ones I ve played on clay this season, and in the past couple of months". All the players are aiming to raise their level of tennis as we're approaching Paris, but especially here in Rome at one of the biggest and best tournaments in the world.

In the women's tournament, Venus Williams overcame determined Briton Johanna Konta to win their third-round clash 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

Djokovic recently broke off his association with his coaching staff, playing in Madrid accompanied on the bench by his brother, Marko, and he said on Monday that he has not yet decided who will be his next coach.

Milos Raonic will take on Alexander Zverev after seeing off Tomas Berdych and Fabio Fognini respectively, while Marin Cilic dumped David Goffin, who was struggling with injury, out of the event.

Qualifier Daria Gavrilova beat seventh-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 and Kiki Bertens won 7-6 (3), 6-1 over Russia's Ekaterina Makarova.

  • Jo Lloyd