Three of the top men in the top half had to go the distance Sunday at the Rome Masters.
Six-time champion Novak Djokovic improved to 11-1 against Grigor Dimitrov with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory over the Bulgarian No. 26 seed.
Djokovic lost just three points on serve in the final set (none on first serve) to cruise to the win. Dimitrov, after being down a break, was able to force a third breaking the world No. 1 to take the second.
“Very solid. I think I could have won in straight sets,” said Djokovic to the ATP. “I was a set and 4-2 up and had a pretty decent forehand in the middle of the court at deuce on his serve and missed that. He held his serve well, we had new balls the next game, I did a double fault, the crowd got into it and got behind him and of course the energy of the place and the of the match changed.
“I dropped my level a bit, but luckily I managed find it right away in the first game, made that crucial break and kind of shifted the momentum to my side, so I’m really pleased with the way I closed out the match.”
Djokovic collects his 1050th career win. Up next will be Cameron Norrie who dismissed Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 6-2, 7-6(7-4).
Italian star Jannik Sinner closed the night with a tough three set win over Alexander Shevchenko in three sets 6-3, 6-7(4-7), 6-2. Sinner’s forehand power was too much for the Russian down the stretch late in the match.
No. 4 Casper Ruud battled past Alexander Bublik 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(7-0).
“It’s been a very good tournament for me in my career. I’ve reached the semis here twice and twice I lost to Novak in the semifinals, so it sort of shows that I’ve been beating a lot of good players up until facing one of the best ever,” Ruud said on court. “I have a lot of good memories from here and the Italian fans are incredible, even though today they were maybe cheering even more for Bublik. It’s an incredible experience playing out here on this court, Pietrangeli.
“It’s a very special court and you can see it’s full almost every single match no matter who plays, so it was really fun and it gives me good vibes being here in Rome.”
Holger Rune, who could face Djokovic, eased past Italian favorite Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-2 in a second round match. It was Rune’s Rome debut.
Third-seeded Daniil Medvedev made a good opening start in Rome eliminating Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 6-2.
Elsewhere on Sunday, former runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas finished off Nuno Borges 6-3, 6-3. Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann stunned 9th-seeded Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-1. No. 12 seed Frances Tiafoe won a tight one over Daniel Altmaier 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. No. 18 seed Lorenzo Musetti defeated countryman Matteo Arnaldi 6-4, 6-4.
Former champion Alexander Zverev battled past David Goffin in three sets 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 and Marco Cecchinato ousted No. 21 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-2.
The third round wraps up on Monday with Carlos Alcaraz back in action against Hungarian qualifier Fabian Marozsan.
Medvedev meets No. 31 Bernabe Zapata Miralles in a first-time tour-level meeting.
Tsitsipas locks up with Lorenzo Sonego, No. 6 Andrey Rublev gets No. 27 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Tiafoe takes on Musetti and Zverev will meet J.J. Wolf.
MONDAY ROME MASTERS SCHEDULE
Starting At: 11:00 am
WTA Madison Keys (USA)  vs Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) 
ATP [Q] Fabian MAROZSAN (HUN) vs Carlos ALCARAZ (ESP) 
Not Before 3:00 PM
WTA Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) vs Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP Stefanos TSITSIPAS (GRE)  vs Lorenzo SONEGO (ITA)
Not Before 8:30 PM
WTA Iga Swiatek (POL)  vs Donna Vekic (CRO) 
GRAND STAND ARENA
Starting At: 11:00 am
ATP Marco CECCHINATO (ITA) vs [Q] Yannick HANFMANN (GER)
Not Before 1:00 PM
WTA Marie Bouzkova (CZE)  vs Veronika Kudermetova 
ATP Bernabe ZAPATA MIRALLES (ESP)  vs Daniil MEDVEDEV 
ATP Lorenzo MUSETTI (ITA)  vs Frances TIAFOE (USA) 
Not Before 7:00 PM
WTA Paula Badosa (ESP) vs Karolina Muchova (CZE)
You Might Like:
Djokovic, Nadal, Alcaraz All On Brutal Half Of French Open Draw
Tsitsipas, Sinner Advance In Barcelona; Alcaraz v RBA Tomorrow
Tsitsipas v Alcaraz Showdown Looms Friday In Barcelona
Alcaraz Advances Past RBA, Meets ADF In QFs Fri in Barcelona; Tsitsipas Wins
Nadal Not Playing So Alcaraz Leads Barcelona Field; Tsitsipas, Ruud, Sinner In Hunt
Alcaraz is out in two sets in Rome!? Marozan? Who is that??
May 15th, 2023 at 3:16 pm