Rafael Nadal bounced back from a rare clay-court defeat in style with a merciless thrashing of Damir Dzumhur at the Internazionali d'Italia, where Grigor Dimitrov was dumped out on his 27th birthday.
Nadal's astounding 50-set winning streak on clay came to an end last week when he lost to Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open, but the two men suffered contrasting fortunes in Rome on Wednesday.
Seven-time champion Nadal - seeking to reclaim the number-one ranking he conceded last week - hammered Dzumhur 6-1 6-0 after Thiem had gone down in three sets to Fabio Fognini, the Austrian smashing a racquet in anger during an intense contest.
Four of the top eight seeds were eliminated on a busy day of action. Thiem was joined in making an early exit by Dimitrov and John Isner, who lost respective close matches to Kei Nishikori and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, while Kevin Anderson retired after losing the first set to Aljaz Bedene.
Next up for Ramos-Vinolas is a meeting with Novak Djokovic, who eased past Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 6-2. Djokovic has not dropped a set in five previous meetings between the pair.
Defending champion Alexander Zverev continued his excellent form with a 7-5 6-2 win over Matteo Berrettini, his 10th victory in a row.
He refuses to be broken!— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 16, 2018
That's 9 consecutive matches on clay without surrendering a service break for Alexander Zverev after his 7-5 6-2 victory over Matteo Berrettini. #ibi18 pic.twitter.com/m7Pqo25mdF
'KING OF CLAY' BACK IN BUSINESS
"It was important, after a loss in Madrid, to come back strong, and that's what I did today," said Nadal following his demolition of Dzumhur.
"I went on court with the right intensity. I don't know how many mistakes I made, but not many. I also had control, more or less, of a high percentage of the points. That was the way that I want to play."
Nadal will face Denis Shapovalov in the last 16 after the Canadian got the better of Robin Haase.
DEL POTRO, CILIC AVOID UPSETS
Although six seeded players suffered exits on Wednesday, Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic were able to advance.
Del Potro progressed in straight sets at the expense of rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Cilic had to work harder on day two of his rain-interrupted match with Ryan Harrison, but ultimately won 6-7 (3-7) 6-1 7-6 (7-1).
|LeBron James saves Cavaliers from elimination|
|Peru FA president weighs in on Paolo Guerrero´s drugs ban appeal|
|Kevin Love ruled out of Game 6 for Cavaliers after concussion|
|Prescott says Cowboys don´t need top receiver|
|MLB extends Roberto Osuna´s administrative leave for third time|
|Rose shoots 64 to take Fort Worth lead|
|James Harden not worried about shooting struggles|
|Green: Spurs star Leonard wants to stay in San Antonio|
|Griezmann could help Barcelona a lot, says Umtiti|
|Moyano hat-trick helps Jaguares sink 14-man Sharks|
|Mbappe rejected Real Madrid for PSG - Monaco´s Vasilyev|
|Rovers rock Warriors as Wolves bite back to see off Hull|
|Thiem through in Lyon as Fucsovics closes in on historic first title|
|Hughes signs three-year Southampton deal|
|Barty suffers injury scare in Strasbourg|
|Ruthless Montpellier overpower Lyon to reach Top 14 final|
|Rabiot hits out at Deschamps criticism|
|Low: Messi more complete than Ronaldo|
|Marvellous McIlroy moves three clear at Wentworth|
|Brighton confirm deal for Deportivo striker Andone|
|No offers for Lyon captain Fekir, Aulas claims|
|Pakistan turn the screw to frustrate England at Lord´s|
|Rashid leaves Knight Riders in the shade as Sunrisers reach IPL final|
|Madrid not favourites for Champions League final - Zidane|
|Don´t compare Salah to Messi and Ronaldo, says Ramos. They´re in a different orbit!|
|Van Dijk: Liverpool is my team, Anfield is my home|
|Ronaldo at ´140 per cent´ is good enough for Zidane|
|People like to talk - Marcelo responds to misquoted Klopp|
|French Open 2018: Hopes of sensational Serena success raised by Roland Garros draw|
|Houston Rockets without Chris Paul for game six|
|Ostapenko used to life in the spotlight ahead of French Open defence|
|Red Sox designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment|
|Liverpool motivated by Europa League pain - Henderson|
|Reus relishing Favre reunion at Borussia Dortmund|
|Phenomenal Froome claims stunning Giro lead as Yates capitulates|
|Bertens, Kontaveit and Kasatkina – Can Ostapenko´s Roland Garros fairytale be matched?|
|Klopp less excited about second final appearance|
|It´s funny if two managers in the final have no clue about tactics - Klopp defends Zidane|
|Salah´s long-term potential ´not important´, says focused Klopp|
|It´s kind of unreal - Kvitova surprised by her success ahead of French Open return|
|Man United and Real Madrid favourite Beckham begs Zidane to beat Liverpool|
|Storm and Raiders snatch dramatic wins|
|Boateng desperate for ´best in the world´ Neuer to play|
|Great players have to play here - Real Madrid´s Marcelo continues Neymar courtship|
|Salah can win Ballon d´Or with Champions League triumph, says Luiz|
|Roland Garros wins ´exactly the same´ for Nadal regardless of Federer involvement|
|Rebels romp past Sunwolves, Crusaders retain top spot|
|Halep ´stronger mentally´ as she seeks first grand slam title|
|Cipriani on bench for Baa Baas clash|
|Ronaldo´s rival Salah shifts focus back to Liverpool versus Real Madrid|
|Two arrested in Kiev after clashes before Champions League final|
|Johnny Nelson leads tributes after death of Brendan Ingle|
|Batshuayi puts off Chelsea plans until after World Cup|
|Devon Smith back in Windies squad, Hamilton earns maiden call-up|
|Thiago hints at uncertain Bayern Munich future|
|Dhananjaya pulls out of Windies tour following death of father|
|I feel great - Kerr keeps faith with Warriors on the brink|
|Ronaldo: I can´t be compared with Salah|
|Buffon agent backs Paris Saint-Germain move|
|ICC confirms smart watches prohibited|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Champions League final in Opta numbers|
|Mane sends 300 Liverpool shirts to Senegal village for Champions League final|
|Arthur will not join Barcelona before December, Gremio insist|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Key battles in the Champions League final|
|Trout hits 15th HR, Bundy strikes out 14|
|Rockets star Paul dealing with hamstring injury|
|Does he only care about his hair? - Denmark coach Hareide slams Pogba, France|
|Rockets push Warriors to brink of elimination|
|World number 84 Kicker suspended for match-fixing|
|WATCH: Paul shimmies in Curry´s face|