But the 20-time Grand Slam champion, looking to add to his Barcelona Open triumph with victory in Rome ahead of the French Open at the end of the month, suffered a fall on his left shoulder in the first set against Zverev.
The Spaniard was in visible pain but recovered to see out the match comfortably enough in two hours at Foro Italico, saving all eight break points he faced in the second set.
His victory sets him up with a semi-final against American Reilly Opelka as he continues his bid for a 10th Italian Open triumph.
Speaking to Amazon Prime Video after beating Zverev, he said: “It was very clear what happened. Some lines are higher than the rest of the court so when you touch the line it’s dangerous. That’s it.”
“I’m happy. Semi-finals here in Rome one more time, confidence for myself and another victory against a great player so very pleased.
“I think I played more solid than in Madrid. At the same time conditions are different.
“In Madrid he was able to create a lot of damage with his serve and then with the first shot here, the situation is a little bit different, a little bit more normal conditions on the clay.
“I was able to control the game a little bit more than in Madrid where the ball was flying a lot and it was difficult to be under control. At the same time the main thing is that I played well.”
“You don’t spot Rafa four-love. He’s not going to lose a set with that. The first set was so key.
“We were all concerned in the first set when Rafa fell down on his left shoulder, ‘Is he alright?’ There was a huge concern the way he grimaces on the ground but he was alright.
“He played the key points that much better.”
Daniela Hantuchova added: “He had to be really good because Sascha was like in Madrid playing his best tennis. Ten break point opportunities and only using one, he’s going be to disappointed.
“Rafa will be pleased with that. He’s not going to lose to the same player twice in back-to-back weeks.”
Nadal has never played the big-serving Opelka before and knows he could take on Novak Djokovic in the final, if the Serbian beats Stefanos Tsitsipas in his quarter-final.
The fourth and final last-eight tie sees seventh seed Andrey Rublev take on Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who will have huge support from the local fans.
They will take on the winner of Djokovic vs Tsitsipas for the honour of facing either Nadal or Opelka in Sunday’s final.
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed