I can have some more practice days.
In the women's tournament, Simona Halep boosted her bid to retain the world number one ranking as the top seed advanced to the quarter-finals after American Madison Keys withdrew injured with a painful rib. "I think this was probably one of the three matches that I played this way in the past 12 months".
The Spaniard will resume his quest for his first title in Rome in five years against Italian Fabio Fognini.
Djokovic, a four-time victor, is on the comeback trail three months after elbow surgery and eased past Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.
"We're finally connecting and I think that's the most attractive thing", Fognini said of the crowd, which whistled him off the court following an erratic performance a few years ago. "I started with some mistakes on the return but with my serve, I didn't lose many points".
Maria Sharapova saved two break points in the third set to get past Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
The Serb, who is only the No 11 seed thanks to a persistent elbow injury, will face Albert Ramos-Vinolas later this evening while Nadal will have his feet up preparing for Fabio Fognini, who has already knocked out Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem this week. "I know I have to play well, to keep having chances and keep going in the tournament".More news: Trump promises lower drug prices, but drops populist solutions
Nadal will next face Canada's Denis Shapovalov, who faced a grueling test in battling past Dutchman Robin Haase 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3 in almost two and a half hours. Djokovic, a four-time victor at Rome, had five aces in the match and will next face Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who rallied past eighth-seeded American John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) in two hours, 53 minutes. The Madrid loss was clearly an aberration and Rafa is definitely looking determined to head to Paris with an eighth title on claycourts of Rome. Seventh-seeded South African Kevin Anderson retired from his match against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene with an injury after losing the first set 6-4.
Fourth-seeded Marin Cilic defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4.
The biggest upset of the day belonged to Japan's Kei Nishikori, who came from behind to upend third-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4.
Three-time victor Maria Sharapova ousted Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-4 and will play fifth seed and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko who saw off Britain's Johanna Konta 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Previous year in Rome, Halep rolled her ankle in the final and lost a lead and the championship to Elina Svitolina.
Svitolina beat 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina 0-6, 6-3, 6-2.