Novak Djokovic vs Juan Martin del Potro
Djokovic (R) has beaten Del Potro twice this year Reuters

Second seed Novak Djokovic takes on Juan Martin del Potro in the Men's singles quarter-final of 2017 Rome Masters on Friday.

The four-time champion edged past local player Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets (6-4, 6-4) in his R16 match yesterday to continue his quest to hit peak form after parting ways with his coaching team last month.

On the other hand, Del Potro, who skipped the early-season action in Australia, stunned seventh seed Kei Nishikori 7-6 (4), 6-3 to claim a win against a top-10 opponent for the first time since his victory over Tomas Berdych at 2012 French Open.

In what will be their 18th career meeting, Del Potro has a solid chance to end Djokovic's dominance and record his fifth overall and maiden win on clay. The Argentine made a strong comeback in 2016 after an array of wrist injuries that marred his career and he opted out of the Australian season to get back to full fitness.

Del Potro has had a decent run on hard courts this season, losing only to top-10 players - Milos Raonic in Delray Beach, Djokovic in Acapulco and Indian Wells and Roger Federer ni Miami. The world number 33 has produced some high-quality tennis in the ongoing tournament, beating Grigor Dimitrov and Kyle Edmund enroute to the last-eight stages.

The win over Nishikori yesterday should have given Del Potro a lot of confidence ahead of his big clash with Djokovic, who is yet to make the final of a tournament after his campaign-winning run in Doha earlier this year.

On the other hand, Djokovic cannot afford to lose early in Rome as he in racing in time to hit peak form ahead of his title defence at Roland Garros. With a potential semi-final meeting with Rafael Nadal on the cards, the Serb will be determined to storm past Del Potro, who had forced a decider in their last two meetings this year.