ROME: Defending champion Rafa Nadal started his Italian Open marketing campaign with an emphatic 6-3 6-1 victory over big-serving American John Isner to transfer into the last-16 on Wednesday whereas Stefanos Tsitsipas saved two match factors to advance.
Nadal, who returned from a rib damage this month and fell on the quarter-final hurdle in Madrid final week, dominated Isner who struggled to discover solutions as soon as the Spaniard, in search of his eleventh title at Rome’s Foro Italico, hit his stride.
Isner leads the ATP Tour with over 450 aces in 2022 however Nadal negated the American’s booming serve by receiving from properly behind the baseline – even on his second serve – breaking 4 occasions and proscribing him to only one ace in the match.
The match went with serve in the opening set and Isner squandered two break factors at 3-3, earlier than Nadal stepped up his sport and broke in the following sport after a lapse in focus from the towering American.
“The beginning of the match was not good for me and even he had some chances on the return to break. I was in his hands at that moment,” Nadal stated in a post-match interview.
“Lucky that he missed those couple of shots. Then I was able to break and then the match changed.”
The second set was no contest as Nadal broke in the opening sport to set the tone and he didn’t look again as Isner ran out of gasoline. Nadal will play Denis Shapovalov in the following spherical, in opposition to whom he saved two match factors in the third spherical final 12 months en route to his tenth title.
“Last year was a joke, that match I saved here against him. I know how dangerous he is,” Nadal added.
“I need to play well, of course, I need to play better than today. But it’s another victory and now tomorrow again a chance to play against one of the best players of the world.”
Tsitsipas scraped previous Grigor Dimitrov with a 6-3 5-7 7-6(4) win however he was made to toil after the Bulgarian abruptly discovered his groove in the second set.
Dimitrov broke to love when Tsitsipas was serving for the match and gained 4 straight video games to take it to a 3rd set.
Dimitrov earned match factors at 5-4 and 6-5 in the decider however the Greek fourth seed saved each and compelled a tiebreak, the place he raced to a 5-0 lead earlier than sealing his progress.
“Incredible fight, I’m extremely happy I was able to overcome this obstacle,” Tsitsipas stated. “Grigor performed rather well, gave me a tough time on the court docket.
“The fact that I was able to process all of that and come back stronger in the third set tiebreak, it was such a great way to redeem myself.”
Second seed Alexander Zverev, who misplaced in the ultimate in Madrid on the weekend, additionally superior to the last-16 after he dispatched Argentine Sebastian Baez 7-6(6) 6-3.
Source : channelnewsasia.com