Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal had no difficulty winning their respective openers at the 2020 Rome Masters on Wednesday and proceeding to the third round.
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The top seeded Djokovic was coming off a stunning turn of events at the US Open which saw the world number one get defaulted from the tournament after he inadvertently hit the lineswoman with a ball. And with one eye on the desire to let his tennis do all the talking, Djokovic raced off to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Salvatore Caruso.
Djokovic, who like Nadal had a first round bye at this Italian Open, later said he didn’t feel too much of an emotional baggage associated with the US Open episode and was glad to be on the court this quickly.
The only time he was slightly pegged back was when Djokovic was disturbed by a few people speaking loudly on their phones, their voices amplified because of the lack of crowd.
The Serb will face countryman Filip Krajinovic in the third round after the latter got past Marco Cecchinato in his second round match.
If Djokovic looked comfortable in his victory, Nadal produced one of his most vintage performances on clay despite having not played a competitive match in over six months.
Nadal was facing fellow Spaniard and US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno-Busta and needed just 73 minutes to get past him 6-1, 6-1.
The Spaniard admitted he missed the Rome crowd and said while he enjoyed the way he played, he might have also been helped by Carreno-Busta being tired after his US Open exploits.
In the biggest upset of the day, Italy’s Jannik Sinner took down Stefanos Tsitsipas in a thriller that went the distance. Sinner looked to have muffed up a big chance to win the match when he allowed his Greek opponent to come back from a set and 5-2 down to level the match at a set apiece.
Sinner, however, did not let up on his intensity and completed a 6-2 win in the final set.
In the women’s draw, top seeded Simona Halep was a straight-set winner over Jasmine Paolini, while Dayana Yastremska needed three sets to get past Amanda Anisimova in a match of fluctuating fortunes.
Halep won 6-3, 6-4 while Yastremska entered the third round with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory.
10th seeded Elena Rybakina, 11th seeded Elise Mertens, and Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova all advanced to the third round, as did Danka Kovinic who shocked Belinda Bencic in the second round.