World number one Novak Djokovic and defending champion Rafael Nadal welcomed the decision to allow a limited number of fans to watch the Italian Open as the top men’s seeds advanced to the quarter-finals on Friday.
Italy’s government have said that 1,000 spectators can be present at the Foro Italico from Sunday’s semi-finals, with matches so far being played in empty courts.
“If it’s safe enough, fantastic,” said Nadal after sweeping past Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-3 in his third round match.
Djokovic battled past fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (9/7), 6-3, to remain on a collision course for a final showdown with Nadal for a second consecutive year.
“A thousand people is better than no people, for sure, because we all miss the fans,” said Djokovic.
Men’s fourth seed Matteo Berrettini, the only Italian remaining in the tournament, regretted he could not…