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Italian Open: Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep off to sublime start in Rome

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Rafael Nadal and world no. 1, Simona Halep put up nearly flawless performances in their respective opening round matches to advance in Rome.

Seven-time Italian Open champion, Rafael Nadal advanced to the third round in Rome with a 6-1, 6-0 dismantling of Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur in just an hour.

“Yeah, a positive match, of course. Good start here. It is important, after a loss in Madrid, it’s important to come back strong. And that’s what I did today,” said Nadal.

Nadal will play either Canadian teen, Denis Shapovalov or Robin Haase in the next round.

In an earlier match, Prince of Clay, Dominic Thiem was stunned by Italy’s Fabio Fognini. Thiem, who was on the back of a final appearance at the Madrid Open, was beaten 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 by the 30-year-old Italian, who put up a splendid display in front of the home fans.

Fabio Fognini celebrates after beating Dominic Thiem in the second round of the Italian Open on Wednesday in Rome.

Fognini will next face Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk before a possible quarter-final showdown with top-seed Nadal.

Also, 12-time Grand Slam champion, Novak Djokovic progressed to the third round with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.

The Serb’s next opponent will be Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who came through a tight three-setter to edge No. 8 seed John Isner 67(5) 76(2) 76(5) in two hours 53 minutes.

In the women’s field, world no. 1, Simona Halep was at her devastating best as she pummeled Japanese rising star, Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-0 on Court Pietrangeli.

Sweet revenge for the Romanian, who was beaten by Osaka in straight sets on her way to the title at Indian Wells in March.

Naomi Osaka was no match for Simona Halep as she got sacked in the second round.

Halep, who needed 59 minutes to advance will face 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys in the third round.

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