Rome Masters: Almagro injury sends Nadal through, Wawrinka gains Paire revenge
Rafael Nadal was given a comfortable passage into the third round of the Internazionali d’Italia when Nicolas Almagro retired, while Stan Wawrinka gained revenge over Benoit Paire on Wednesday.
Nadal has a perfect record on clay this season after tournament victories in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid to make himself favourite to win the French Open next month.
The fourth seed was on court less than 25 in his first match in Rome, as fellow Spaniard Almagro sustained a left knee injury and was unable to continue.
Nadal, eyeing an eighth title at the Foro Italico this week, will face Jack Sock in round three after the American defeated Jiri Vesely 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-1).
He is a great champion, but @RafaelNadal is also a great sport too….#ibi17pic.twitter.com/NErvQkb2N2
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 17, 2017
Wawrinka lost to Paire in the second round of the Madrid Open last week, but responded with a 6-3 1-6 6-3 success against the Frenchman. Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori were among the other seeds to go through.
Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Sam Querrey and Roberto Bautista Agut are also into the third round.
STAN PUTS PAIRE IN HIS PLACE
Paire beat Wawrinka in the three-time grand slam champion’s first match in the Spanish capital last week, but there was to be no repeat.
The US Open champion dominated the final set after he was broken twice in the second to ensure he would have to go the distance once again.
This time it was Wawrinka who came out on top, improving his record against Paire to 8-3 to seal a clash with towering American John Isner.
RAONIC RACES PAST HAAS
Raonic is also in need of a good run this week after losing to David Goffin in the third round in Madrid.
The 2016 Wimbledon runner-up made a positive start, getting past veteran Tommy Haas 6-4 6-3 and will now come up against Tomas Berdych.
Raonic needed just the 75 minutes to get through his first match of the week, with Haas unable to break the powerful Canadian’s serve.
NISHIKORI BACK IN BUSINESS
Nishikori retired in Madrid last week before he was due to face Novak Djokovic at the quarter-final stage, but the seventh seed looked untroubled in a victory over David Ferrer in the Eternal City.
The world number nine from Japan bundled Ferrer out last week and inflicted a 7-5 6-2 defeat on the Spaniard this time around.
Ferrer recorded the 700th victory of his career in the first round on Tuesday, but will have to wait for win number 701. Nishikori will now face Juan Martin del Potro, a straight-sets victory against Kyle Edmund.
Pasito a pasito. pic.twitter.com/PbeaJDW1ya
— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) May 17, 2017