TENNIS

Italian Open: Nadal, Djokovic ease into third round, Pliskova smashes racquet on umpire’s chair

Nadal’s in contention to win his eighth title at Rome after his 6-1, 6-0 win against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur.

Former winners Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic powered into the third round of the Italian Open in Rome on Wednesday but Austrian Dominic Thiem fell at the first hurdle.

Sixth seed Thiem crashed out just a week after inflicting a first clay-court defeat on Nadal in over a year in Madrid which cost the Spaniard the world number one ranking.

The 24-year-old destroyed his racket in fury as he suffered his first defeat to Italian Fabio Fognini in three meetings, sinking 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 at the Foro Italico.

Nadal later eased through 6-1, 6-0 against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur as he targets an eighth Rome title and first since 2013.

“After a loss in Madrid, it’s important to come back strong. And that’s what I did today,” said Nadal, who received a first-round bye.

The 31-year-old, who claimed the 11th titles of his career at both Monte Carlo and Barcelona, took the first set in 34 minutes, coasting to victory in just an hour.

The 16-time Grand Slam winner next takes on either Canadian Denis Shapovalov, 19, or Robin Haase of the Netherlands.

“Today was a positive day. I don’t know how many mistakes I did, but not much,” said Nadal.

Djokovic, a four-time winner, is on the comeback trail three months after elbow surgery and eased past Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.

The Serbia will next play Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas who needed three sets to get past American eighth seed John Isner 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/5).

Fognini, ranked 21, next plays Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk before a possible quarter-final showdown with top seed Nadal.

“If you compare it to Madrid there were a lot of close matches I could have lost there too. I did have chances,” said Thiem.

Bulgarian third seed Grigor Dimitrov also suffered an early exit, going out to Japan’s Kei Nishikori after a marathon 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-4 battle.

Pliskova’s racket rage

Former world number one Karolina Pliskova was so angry she put a hole in the umpire’s chair with her racket instead of shaking hands after losing to Greece’s Maria Sakkari.

Pliskova, the sixth seed, argued lengthily after an overhead shot was incorrectly ruled out and both the line judge and the umpire said they could not find the mark.

The controversial shot came in the third set with the Czech serving at 5-5 (30/30). She could not conceal her fury as she went on to lose the match 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Instead of shaking hands with the umpire after the match, Pliskova first put her hand out before beating up the chair.

Earlier, top women’s seed Simona Halep needed just under an hour to advance 6-1, 6-0 past Naomi Osaka to avenge her defeat to the Japanese player in Indian Wells.

“It was one of those helpless feelings,” conceded 20-year-old Osaka who could be heard saying “I want to cry” courtside.

Halep needed to save four break points in her opening service game for 1-1 but then reeled off 12 in a row.

“I like to slide on the clay and today was easy for me. I’m more relaxed than in Madrid,” said 26-year-old Halep.

Halep reached the final in Rome last year and needs to reach the quarter-finals this time to retain her world number one ranking.

She next plays 13th-seeded American Madison Keys, who battled past Croatian Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/0), for a place in the last eight.

France’s Caroline Garcia, a semi-finalist in Madrid last week, eased past Hungary’s Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4, and will next face US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Get ready for an 80-hour shopping marathon

Here are some tips that’ll help you take the lead.

Starting 16th July at 4:00pm, Flipkart will be hosting its Big Shopping Days sale over 3 days (till 19th July). This mega online shopping event is just what a sale should be, promising not just the best discounts but also buying options such as no cost EMIs, buyback guarantee and product exchanges. A shopping festival this big, packed with deals that you can’t get yourself to refuse, can get overwhelming. So don’t worry, we’re here to tell you why Big Shopping Days is the only sale you need, with these helpful hints and highlights.

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt (64 GB)

A host of entertainment options, latest security features and a 13 MP rear camera that has mastered light come packed in sleek metal unibody. The sale offers an almost 40% discount on the price. Moreover, there is a buyback guarantee which is part of the deal.

Original price: Rs. 17,900

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Samsung 32 inches HD Ready LED TV

Another blockbuster deal in the sale catalogue is this audio and visual delight. Apart from a discount of 41%, the deal promises no-cost EMIs up to 12 months.

Original price: Rs. 28,890

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Intel Core I3 equipped laptops

These laptops will make a thoughtful college send-off gift or any gift for that matter. Since the festive season is around the corner, you might want to make use of this sale to bring your A-game to family festivities.

Original price: Rs. 25,590

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 21,900

Fashion

If you’ve been planning a mid-year wardrobe refresh, Flipkart’s got you covered. The Big Shopping Days offer 50% to 80% discount on men’s clothing. You can pick from a host of top brands including Adidas and Wrangler.

With more sale hours, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale ensures we can spend more time perusing and purchasing these deals. Apart from the above-mentioned products, you can expect up to 80% discount across categories including mobiles, appliances, electronics, fashion, beauty, home and furniture.

Features like blockbuster deals that are refreshed every 8 hours along with a price crash, rush hour deals from 4-6 PM on the starting day and first-time product discounts makes this a shopping experience that will have you exclaiming “Sale ho to aisi! (warna na ho)”

Set your reminders and mark your calendar, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days starts 16th July, 4 PM and end on 19th July. To participate in 80 hours of shopping madness, click here.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Flipkart and not by the Scroll editorial team.