Rafael Nadal has been knocked out of the Italian Open after a straight-sets defeat by Austrian Dominic Thiem.
The quarter-final victory by Thiem avenged a defeat by the same opponent in last week’s Madrid Open.
The Austrian won 6-4 6-3 against the 14-time Grand Slam tournament winner in Rome for only his second victory in six meetings between the two.
The defeat ended the 30-year-old Spaniard’s unbeaten run on clay this year which had stretched to 17 matches.
They had last met in the final in Madrid less than a week ago and that time it was the Spaniard who triumphed 7-6 (10/8) 6-4.
Nadal had also beaten Thiem in the final of the Barcelona Open but he went down to the 23-year-old in Italy.
Thiem’s reward is a semi-final meeting with either Novak Djokovic or Juan Martin del Potro who were due to meet in the final quarter-final on Friday evening.
The other semi-final will see Germany’s Alexander Zverev take on American John Isner.
Isner was a 7-6 (7/3) 2-6 7-6 (7/2) winner against Croatian Marin Cilic earlier on Friday and then Zverev defeated Canadian Milos Raonic 7-6 (7/4) 6-1.
Djokovic’s match with Del Petro was suspended early in the second set because of rain.
At the time the players left the court the Serbian had won the first set 6-1. He trailed 2-1 in the second set with the first three games going with serve.