Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic each posted straight-set wins on Friday to advance into the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.
The second-seeded Nadal rolled to a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Dusan Lajovic of Serbia, while the top-seeded Djokovic worked a little harder in dispatching fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7), 6-3.
Nadal, a nine-time event champion, is part of the quarterfinals for the 15th time in Rome.
"I played at I think a very positive level of tennis," Nadal said after the 90-minute match. "Of course it needs to keep improving. I need to keep working on a couple of things that are not coming automatically. But I can't ask for more.
"(It was) another great evening for me against another good opponent. Can't complain at all. Much better (than) what I expected."
Nadal is 2-0 in the tournament after not playing for 6 1/2 months. He defeated Spanish compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1, 6-1 on Wednesday in his return.
Nadal's quarterfinal opponent will be eighth-seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. Schwartzman defeated Poland's Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 to advance.
Djokovic, a four-time champion in Rome, reached the quarterfinals for the 14th consecutive year.
He was pushed hard in the 87-minute opening set before prevailing and finally put away Krajinovic in two hours, seven minutes.
"It was definitely one of the longest sets I think I have ever played," Djokovic said. "Never easy, I think, emotionally to play against someone that is one of my best friends for many years. ... I think the first set could have gone a different way, as well.
"Fortunately for me it went my way, and that allowed me to swing through the ball a bit more in the second set. Maybe physically and mentally he dropped a level, and I used my opportunities and capitalized to win in straight sets."
Djokovic next faces Germany's Dominik Koepfer, who cruised to a 6-4, 6-0 win over Italian Lorenzo Musetti in a matchup of qualifiers. Koepfer is the first qualifier to reach the quarterfinals in Rome in 11 years.
Fourth-seeded Matteo Berrettini had to fight off fellow Italian and wild card Stefano Travaglia 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1) in two hours to advance. Berrettini next faces Norway's Casper Ruud, who recorded a 6-2, 7-6 (6) win over Craoatia's Marin Cilic.
No. 12 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada and No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria square off in another quarterfinal. Shapovalov beat France's Ugo Humbert 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4, while Dimitrov rallied to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Italian wild card Jannik Sinner.
--Field Level Media