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De Minaur run ragged in Rome by blistering Tsitsipas

Alex de Minaur may have beaten a rusty King of Clay when he defeated Rafael Nadal earlier this claycourt swing, but it has been a different matter against one of Nadal's potential successors in Rome.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is among a cluster of princes vying to assume Nadal's claycourt crown (once the all-surface master Novak Djokovic finally makes way), and he showed why in a brutal thrashing of the Australian No.1.

Tsitsipas beat de Minaur 6-1 6-2 in a minute under an hour to reach the Italian Open quarter-finals, and the vanquished Aussie barely knew what hit him.

He was 3-0 down after nine minutes and never recovered with the mercurial Greek showing how good he can be on his day on clay.

Tsitsipas hit 15 winners to de Minaur's four, and made fewer unforced errors (four) despite playing an aggressive game. The key was the quality of Tsitsipas's returns, de Minaur only delivered six unreturned serves out of 40, won less than half his points on second service, and lost five of eight break points on serve.

The Greek world No.8 now plays Chile's Nicolas Jarry, who defeated Alexandre Muller 7-5 6-3.

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas hits one his many returns against Australia's Alex de Minaur in Rome. (AP PHOTO)

In mitigation while de Minaur has made great strides on clay Tsitsipas is far more comfortable on it.

Besides reaching the final of the French Open - and going down in a five-set thriller to Novak Djokovic in 2021, Tsitsipas has won three times on the clay of Monte Carlo and also reached the finals of Masters in Rome and Madrid.

With Djokovic out and defending champion Dmitri Medvedev beaten 6-1 6-4 by Tommy Paul in Tuesday's shock result, he is now the man to beat in this event with former winner Alexander Zverev, who is in the other half of the draw, the main threat.

Medvedev's serve was broken three times in the 28-minute first set by the 14th-seeded Paul, who then served out the set to love.

Medvedev improved slightly in the second set when he broke immediately but Paul broke straight back and never looked back. The American now plays Hubert Hurckacz who put out Sebastian Baez.

Zverev, who won the event in 2017, eased past Nuno Borges and will face Taylor Fritz who beat Grigor Dimitrov despite losing a second set tie-break 13-11.

Alejandro Tabilo backed up his stunning third-round win against Djokovic by edging Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (12-10) to reach a Masters quarter-final for the first time. He will face Zhang Zhizhen, who ousted Thiago Monteiro.

with AP