Juan Martin del Potro survived a spirited fight from Grigor Dimitrov to advance Monday in Rome with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.
After saving break points at in the 4-3 game, Del Potro broke to go up 5-3 then served out the match and improve to 5-0 against the Bulgarian.
“I think I played well during the whole match. I had my break points in the first set, and Grigor played better in that moment. I think he took the opportunities,” del Potro said. “But in the second and in the third I played solid from the baseline. I hit harder with my backhands, and I think my serves helped to win the match.”
The Argentine missed Madrid to attend the funeral of his grandfather. He’ll face Kyle Edmund on Wednesday. Dimitrov has lost eight matches this year, seven of those in deciding sets.
David Goffin and Tomas Berdych were also winners. In a mild upset, Sam Querrey knocked out Lucas Pouille. And Jan-Lennard Struff kept Bernard Tomic reeling with a three set win over the Australian.
On tap Tuesday, defending champion Andy Murray opens play against Italian favorite Fabio Fognini.
“He’s one of the better clay-court players, for sure,” Murray said of Fognini. “He obviously would be highly motivated, I would think, playing in Italy, as well. I have had some tough matches with him in the past, so it won’t be easy. I will definitely need to play well in that one to have a chance of winning.
“That’s definitely a tough one to start off.”
Murray leads Fognini 3-2. They last played in Rio last summer and Murray won in three.
Four-time champion Novak Djokovic returns to take on Brit Aljaz Bedene.
Rafael Nadal will be on court Wednesday.
TUESDAY ROME SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
WTA –  M. Keys (USA) vs [Q] D. Gavrilova (AUS)
ATP –  D. Goffin (BEL) vs F. Verdasco (ESP)
ATP – [Q] A. Bedene (GBR) vs  N. Djokovic (SRB)
Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA – [WC] M. Sharapova (RUS) vs  M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO)
Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP –  A. Murray (GBR) vs F. Fognini (ITA)
NEXT GEN ARENA start 11:00 am
ATP – [Q] A. Mannarino (FRA) vs P. Cuevas (URU)
ATP – [Q] K. Anderson (RSA) vs  A. Zverev (GER)
WTA –  K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs J. Goerges (GER)
WTA – K. Siniakova (CZE) vs  S. Kuznetsova (RUS)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – R. Harrison (USA) vs  M. Cilic (CRO)
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