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ROME: Defending champion Rafael Nadal lost simply two games in two fits sooner than reserving his position within the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Thursday.

The eight-time Rome champion beat Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-Zero within the 3rd spherical after previous crushing France's Jeremy Chardy 6-Zero, 6-1 in the second spherical, taking part in two fits after Wednesday's rain washout in Rome.

Nadal next plays fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco who defeated 11th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.

The 32-year-old Nadal is bidding for his first clay-court title this season sooner than chasing a 12th French Open crown at Roland Garros starting on May 26.

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