ROME, Italy – Austria's Dominic Thiem sent Rafael Nadal crashing out of the Rome Masters on Friday with a 6-4, 6-3 quarter-final victory, ending the Spaniard's 17-match winning run.
Nadal, a former seven-time champion in the Italian capital, had dominated Thiem to win the Madrid Masters final last week.
But the 30-year-old, seeded fourth in Rome and building up for an assault on a 10th French Open title, was outplayed throughout a thrilling encounter on centre court.
Friday's other quarter-final saw – Rising German star Alexander Zverev reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final with a 7-6(4) 6-1 defeat of world number six Milos Raonic.
Zverev, 20, will face John Isner for a place in the final after the American edged out Croatian Marin Cilic 7-6(3) 2-6 7-6(2).
"It's another stepping stone in my career," Zverev told the ATP's website. "I feel like I have played very well today. I returned very well.
"So I'm happy to be in the semis and playing John tomorrow, who I know very well from our Saddlebrook (Florida) days. It's going to be a great match."
Later on Court Centrale world number two Novak Djokovic plays Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro.