Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Nadal powers into Italian Open third round

Nadal powers into Italian Open third round

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.

In the women's event, world No 1 Simona Halep was in ruthless form against Japan's Naomi Osaka, the Romanian needing just 59 minutes to win 6-1, 6-0 to reach the third round.

France's Caroline Garcia, a semi-finalist in Madrid last week, also eased into the third round past Hungary's Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4.Garcia, the seventh seed, went through with a break in both sets in 1hr 30min and she will next play either American Sloane Stephens or Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.In the men's event, United States eighth seed John Isner fell following a three set battle which included three tiebreaks against Spain's Albert Ramos 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/5). His victory against Thiem was like a revenge match as it reduced the gap in the number of victories between the two players (4 wins for the Austrian player against 2 for the German player).

"I played a very good tournament in Madrid".

Also on the red clay of the Foro Italico, Novak Djokovic looked untroubled as he defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 6-2 to reach the third round, while Kei Nishikori, who continues to work his way back up the rankings after wrist problems, defeat third seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-4.

"She knew it and we were having a lot of backhand rallies, other than that I couldn't say what happened."I feel like I've played her the most of any player, this was the third time this year".

Defending champion Alexander Zverev beat Italian wild-card entry Matteo Berrettini 7-5, 6-2.

Former No. 1 Angelique Kerber rallied past Irina-Camelia Begu 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, and 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina eliminated American qualifier Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-3.

Thiem, who finished runner-up in Madrid on Sunday, struggled to find his rhythm in a 6-4 1-6 6-3 defeat by Fabio Fognini. Seventh-seeded South African Kevin Anderson retired from his match against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene with an injury after losing the first set 6-4. He will now take on British number one Kyle Edmund, who saved the only break point he faced in a 6-2 7-6 (3) victory over France's Lucas Pouille.

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