Sport

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

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

Home favourite Fabio Fognini produced the performance of the day, the Italian world No 21 defeating sixth seed Thiem 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to send the fans inside Court Centrale into raptures.

Djokovic, a four-time victor of the Italian Open, also had little trouble in his second round match, defeating Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 18 minutes.

But Nadal can take it back by winning in Rome and he set his stall out by blitzing Dzumhur 6-1 6-0 in an hour.

Also on the red clay of the Foro Italico, Albert Ramos-Vinolas rallied to beat eighth-seeded John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5).

Dzumhur worked hard, yet came up well short, outclassed by Nadal in a clinical display that ensured a return to winning ways was never in doubt.

"We're finally connecting and I think that's the most lovely thing", Fognini said of the crowd, which whistled him off the court following an erratic performance a few years ago.

"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 did have chances", said Thiem.

Japan's Kei Nishikori - who missed most of the latter half of last season after wrist surgery - overcame third seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-4.

"If you compare it to Madrid there were a lot of close matches I could have lost there too".

World No 5 Karolina Pliskova was eliminated by Maria Sakkari in controversial circumstances, prompting the Czech to react by smashing her racket against the umpire's chair at the end of the match.

Pliskova, the sixth seed, argued lengthily after an overhead shot was incorrectly ruled out and both the line judge and the umpire said they could not find the mark.

Instead of shaking hands with the umpire after the match, Pliskova first put her hand out before beating up the chair.

Shapovalov reached the third round of the Italian Open on Wednesday with a 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3 win over Dutch veteran Robin Haase.

"It was one of those helpless feelings", conceded 20-year-old Osaka who could be heard saying "I want to cry" courtside.

"I beat a top clay-courter", Fognini added. "I'm more relaxed than in Madrid", said 26-year-old Halep.

The Spaniard can reclaim the world number one ranking from Roger Federer if he wins a record-extending eighth title in Rome this week.

France's Caroline Garcia, a semi-finalist in Madrid last week, eased past Hungary's Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4, and will next face US Open champion Sloane Stephens.



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