After a shock loss to Dominic Thiem last week in Madrid, Rafael Nadal got back on track in his opener today in Rome, in ruthless fashion hammering Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-0.
“It was a positive match, of course,” said Nadal. “It was important, after a loss in Madrid, to come back strong. And that’s what I did today. I went on court with the right intensity. I don’t know how many mistakes I made, but not many. I also had control, more or less, of a high percentage of the points. That was the way that I want to play.”
The 7-time Rome champion returns tomorrow to face young superstar Denis Shapovalov who eliminated Robin Haase 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 6-3.
The Canadian lefty who just made the Madrid semifinals, stunned Nadal last summer in Canada.
Out of Court 3, Novak Djokovic continued to show signs of improvement getting through Nikolas Basilishvili without issue 6-4, 6-3.
“I thought the atmosphere was unique, phenomenal. It’s one of the most beautiful tennis courts in the world,” Djokovic said. “I have great memories there. And I think it’s so nice to play in front of the people that also don’t have to buy ticket for [Center] Court … It’s very intimate.”
Djokovic moves on to meet Albert Ramos Vinolas, a winner over John Isner. With Isner’s loss, Americans finished 0-3 on the day as Marin Cilic beat Ryan Harrison and Pablo Carreno Busta took down Steve Johnson.
Juan Martin del Potro fought back from an early deficit and pulled away to defeat Stefanos Tsisipas 7-5, 6-3.
Two upsets were had on the day. Home favorite Fabio Fognini, who beat Andy Murray in Rome last year, upended Dominc Thiem 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. And Kei Nishikori came from a break down in the third to deny Grigor Dimitrov 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4.
Alexander Zverev was also a winner.
Tomorrow, Djokovic duels Ramos Vinolas, Cilic faces Paire and of course the day is headlined by Rafa’s bid for revenge against Shapovalov.
In the women’s draw, Maria Sharapova overcame a poor first set to beat Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Former French champ Garbine Muguruza was upset by Daria Gavirilova. Venus Williams won in three over Elena Vesnina and Simona Halep dropped just one game to Naomi Osaka.
Halep will meet Madison Keys tomorrow.
THURSDAY ROME SCHEDULE
CENTRALE Starts At 12:00 Noon
3rd Rd Peter Gojowczyk VS Fabio Fognini
Not Before 2:00 Pm
3rd Rd 8 Venus Williams VS Anett Kontaveit
3rd Rd 1 Rafael Nadal VS Denis Shapovalov
Not Before 7:30 Pm
3rd Rd 11 Novak Djokovic VS Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Not Before 9:00 Pm
3rd Rd 15 Anastasija Sevastova VS 2 Caroline Wozniacki
NEXT GEN ARENA Starts At 11:00 Am
3rd Rd 14 Daria Kasatkina VS 4 Elina Svitolina
Not Before 12:00 Noon
3rd Rd Aljaz Bedene VS 10 Pablo Carreno Busta
3rd Rd Benoit Paire VS 4 Marin Cilic
Not Before 4:30 Pm
3rd Rd Daria Gavrilova VS Maria Sharapova
Not Before 7:00 Pm
3rd Rd Kei Nishikori VS Philipp Kohlschreiber
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