Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas made it through to the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Thursday, increasing the prospect of a last four clash between the pair.
World number three Zverev saw off Alex de Minaur 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) in the early match on centre court at the Foro Italico to set-up a last-eight clash with either Cristian Garin or Maran Cilic.
The German was unruffled in his victory over Australian De Minaur as he looks to bounce back from being trounced by teenage phenomenon Carlos Alcaraz in the Madrid final on Sunday.
Zverev had complained about always playing late into the night in Spain and he has been allocated two morning matches in the Italian capital.
“I prefer to play at 11am (0900 GMT) rather than 1am (2300 GMT). I think every player would say that. Something in between would also be nice I think,” Zverev told reporters.
Tsitsipas meanwhile was forced to work harder for his 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 win over former Paris Masters winner Karen Khachanov.
Russian Khachanov, whose best results have come on hard court, deservedly took the first set against sluggish world number five Tsitsipas.
The Greek, who is a contender in Rome after winning this year’s Monte Carlo Masters, bounced back in the second set and once he broke in game two of set three Khachanov’s fate was sealed.
In the last eight Tsitsipas will take on either Filip Krajinovic or local hero Jannik Sinner, the only Italian left in the men’s tournament after he saw off countryman Fabio Fognini on Wednesday night.
“I think loosening up a little bit and trying to concentrate a bit more on that gave me the win today,” Tsitsipas said.
“It hasn’t been easy the last two matches but I can only take the good side.”