Rafa Nadal cruises into Italian Open third round, Dominic Thiem exits

  • Rafa Nadal cruises into Italian Open third round, Dominic Thiem exits

Rafa Nadal cruises into Italian Open third round, Dominic Thiem exits

Nadal lost his first match on clay in over a year last week in the Madrid quarter-finals to Austrian Dominic Thiem and as a result lost his world number one ranking to Roger Federer.

Elsewhere, Fabio Fognini was roared to victory by a partisan Italian crowd as he upset sixth seed Dominic Thiem.

Nadal would go on to win the set 6-1 and he was even more ruthless in the second set as he won it 6-0 to clinch the match in just 61 minutes. "And that's what I did today", said Nadal, who received a first-round bye.

But in his Italian Open second round match today, the 31-year-old showed no nerves as he swept to a 5-0 lead in the first set.

"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.

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.

Djokovic will play Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who rallied past eighth-seeded John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5).

Fognini, ranked 21, next plays Germany's Peter Gojowczyk before a possible quarter-final showdown with top seed Nadal. So I'm disappointed that I lost, obviously.

"It was a good match, actually, from both of us, I would say", said Thiem.

Also on the red clay of the Foro Italico, Kei Nishikori rallied to beat third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4, and Juan Martin del Potro eliminated Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3.

The controversial shot came in the third set with the Czech serving at 5-5 (30/30).

Maria Sakkari of Greece rallied past sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. The chair umpire acknowledged that she "lost" the ball mark and therefore said the point should be awarded to Sakkari. "It was just him, he was very pumped playing at home".

Halep needed to save four break points in her opening service game for 1-1 but then reeled off 12 in a row.

"I beat a top clay-courter", Fognini added.

"I don't know how many mistakes I made, but not many".

World number two Rafael Nadal will begin his quest for record-breaking eighth Rome Masters title, when he squares off with Bosnian tennis star Damir Dzumhur in their round-of-32 clash in Italy on Wednesday.

She next plays 13th-seeded American Madison Keys, who battled past Croatian Donna Vekic 7-6 (2), 7-6 (0), for a place in the last eight.

Fognini's victory was far less straightforward, but the 30-year-old eventually prevailed 6-4 1-6 6-3 against last year's semi-finalist.