Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Nadal powers into Rome third round

Nadal powers into Rome third round

Rafael Nadal powered his way into the third round of the ATP Italian Open on Wednesday with a straight sets win over Bosnian Damir Dzumhur.

For Nadal, it was the ideal response after his surprise defeat to Austria's world No 8 Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Open quarter-finals that also saw the Spaniard lose his No 1 ranking.

The Austrian was stunned at the Foro Italico by Fabio Fognini, losing 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to the Italian.

"It was important, after a loss in Madrid, to come back strong. And that's what I did today", said Nadal, who received a first-round bye.

The 16-time Grand Slam victor next takes on either Canadian Denis Shapovalov, 19, or Robin Haase of the Netherlands.

"Today was a positive day".

I also had control, more or less, of a high percentage of the points.

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Djokovic was up against Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili and settled down after a nervy start to wrap up a 6-4, 6-2 victory after one hour and 18 minutes.

And Nadal was impressed with how well he played. So I'm disappointed that I lost, obviously. "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.

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.

With the score at 6-3, 3-6, 5-5 and serving at 30-30, Pliskova had an overhead smash incorrectly called out, and after the umpire, Marta Mrozinska, could not find the ball mark the original call stood.

Nishikori dropped the first set but mounted an impressive comeback to secure a hard-fought 6-7, (4-7), 7-5, 6-4 victory. "That was the way that I want to play".

Halep needed to save four break points in her opening service game for 1-1 but then reeled off 12 in a row.

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