Roger Federer trounces Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3 to reach third round of Italian Open
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Naomi Osaka advanced with routine wins in the first of their two matches at the Italian Open on Thursday.
A rainout on Wednesday backed up play, causing the title contenders to try and win their double-headers as efficiently as possible to save energy.
Federer saved all seven break points he faced to beat Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3, then was to play Borna Coric for a spot in the quarterfinals.
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“Good thing was this one was not that physical,” Federer said. “Borna is tough. I lost to him a couple of times last year.”
Eight-time Rome champion Nadal cruised past Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-1 and will meet Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Tennis: Nick Kyrgios has held no punches when discussing the behaviours and legacies of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The Aussie went full throttle when on the No Challenges Remaining podcast at the Madrid Open.
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The top-ranked Osaka comfortably beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-3 and will next face Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Compared to his attacking display in Madrid last week, Federer’s defensive game was particularly sharp.
En route to breaking Sousa midway through the first set, Federer ran down a drop shot with a perfectly timed slide and replied with a delicate, angled put away. Federer fell behind 0-40 in the next game but then won five straight points to secure a 5-3 lead, closing out the service game with a stretch forehand cross- court passing shot on the full run from the corner – drawing a loud roar from the Foro Italico crowd.
Tennis: Nick Kyrgios advanced to the second round of the Italian Open following an entertaining three set win over Daniil Medvedev.
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Federer hit 25 winners to Sousa’s eight.
Also, Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco rallied past fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Others advancing included Kei Nishikori, Diego Schwartzman, and Jan-Lennard Struff.
Osaka, who can hold on to the No. 1 ranking by reaching the quarters, hit a whopping 44 winners and 12 aces.
“My serve was really good,” Osaka said. “I just tried to be really calm.” Kiki Bertens, last week’s Madrid Open winner, was tested in beating 17-year-old American qualifier Amanda Anisimova 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
Tennis: Nick Kyrgios made the business decision of protecting his front parts after getting too aggressive at the net.
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Also advancing were Garbine Muguruza, Johanna Konta, and Kristina Mladenovic. Players were distracted by fighter jets above the Foro Italico rehearsing for an air display later. Players often appeared bothered by the noise and flybys.
Federer won through 6-4, 6-3 against the 72nd-ranked Sousa and will play Croatian 13th seed Borna Coric later in the day for a place in the quarter-finals after rain delays wiped out play on Wednesday.
Federer, a four-time finalist in Rome, returns to Italy after skipping the clay season for the last two years as he concentrated on his grass game.
Tennis: Nick Kyrgios has opened his match at the Italian Open with an underarm serve, catching Daniil Medvedov completely off-guard.
Kyrgios opens match with underarm serve
Originally published as When in Rome: Fed, Rafa and Osaka complete routine wins