Nadal powers into Rome third round

Nadal eases past Shapovalov Djokovic back challenging in Rome

Sixth-seed Thiem - who inflicted the first clay-court defeat in nearly a year on Nadal last week in the Spanish capital - took out his frustration on his racket as Fognini sealed his first win in three meetings with the Austrian.

The Serbia will next play Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas who needed three sets to get past American eighth seed John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5).

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic remain on course for a semi-final showdown at the Italian Open after both players eased into the third round yesterday.

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

ROME (AP) - Fabio Fognini got the Foro Italico crowd fired up Wednesday with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win over sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem in the second round of the Italian Open. "I think I deserved it at the end". "They finally understand me". 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.

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.

Nadal routed 31st-ranked Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-0, while Djokovic beat Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2. So I'm disappointed that I lost, obviously.

"I like to slide on the clay and today was easy for me".

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The 16-time Grand Slam victor next takes on either Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov or Robin Haase.

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.

Halep reached the final in Rome previous year and needs to reach the quarter-finals this time to retain her world number one ranking.

Maria Sakkari of Greece rallied past sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

A clearly angry Pliskova then lost the following point and subsequently the game before her Greek opponent served out the match to take her place in the third round.

Four break points went begging for Osaka in the opening exchanges before the world No. 1 rattled off 11 games in succession.

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

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