The top-seeded stormed into the last-four of Rome Masters after easing past seventh-seed Caroline Garcia of France 6-2, 6-3 in a one-sided quarter-final clash that lasted one hour and 14 minutes.
Defending champion Elina Svitolina returned to the Italian Open final with a comfortable 6-4, 6-3 win over 26th-ranked Anna Kontaveit.
Nadal, who hasn't won the Italian Open since 2013, will next face Fabio Fognini, who beat Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first quarterfinal in 11 appearances at his home tournament.
The seventh-seeded Indo-French pair lost 6-7(5) 4-6 to their unseeded opponents of Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers in one hour and 32 minutes.
Halep needed to reach the quarterfinals to progress further than No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki to hold onto the top spot, and she accomplished the first task.
Rome: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic bolstered his clay-court credentials a week ahead of Roland Garros with a convincing 6-4, 6-3 win over Roger Federer on Sunday to capture his fourth Italian Open title.Extending his winning streak
Rome: Maria Sharapova rallied to beat 10th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 Sunday and win her third Italian Open title.The victory gives Sharapova confidence on clay as she prepares to defend her title at
Rome: Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis stormed into the semifinals of the Rome Masters tennis tournament with a straight-set victory over the pair of Julia Goerges and Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the women's