Jannik Sinner battled hard to find a way past compatriot Fabio Fognini at the Italian Open, 6-2 3-6 6-3.
The encounter pitted two of the home favourites against one another in something of a 'derby', and provided some memorable moments of quality in the customarily stunning setting of the Foro Italico, which Stefanos Tsitsipas had earlier on Wednesday described as "like the Colosseum".
Centre Court was packed from the outset for the much-anticipated match and it was Sinner who came out of the blocks quicker, compiling a 5-1 lead as Fognini was left chasing shadows.
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Sinner was to take the opener 6-2, but it was roles reversed in the second as Fognini broke twice to take a 5-2 lead. He served it out comfortably and the crowd showed their appreciation to the Sanremo native for extending their evening's entertainment.
However, Sinner - still only 20 - showed experience beyond his years to take stock ahead of the decider and stretch into a 4-1 lead. Fognini closed it up with a break back to heighten Sinner's nerves, but the youngster served it out to book a last-16 match with Serbia's Filip Krajinovic.
Fognini's nine double faults and first serve percentage of just 46% provided an idea of where the 34-year-old fell down in his bid to outdo Sinner.
Tenth seed Sinner's win meant he has now made at least the quarter-finals of every Masters 1000 event so far in 2022.
He wrote 'Forza Milan' on the camera lens following his victory, in a nod to his team AC Milan's battle to win the Serie A crown ahead of city rivals Inter Milan.
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