Defending champion Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovik The top two men, who reached the third round of the clay-court tournament in Rome, returned victorious at the Italian Open on Wednesday. Nine-month winner Nadal defeated fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6–1, 6–1 in six months and played behind closed doors at Foro Italico. The world number two team has not played since winning at Acapulco at the end of February, skipping a hard court tour of the US amid Coronovirus concerns.
Nadal, 34, said, “It looked good.
“Not beautiful, emotion playing without the audience, because it is impossible to describe the fans’ energy.
“But for me, at least, today was a very positive return.
“I played a very solid match and am very serious and doing a lot of things very well, so very happy.”
Nadal only gave the 18th-ranked opponent a break point, which led to signs of weariness reaching the semi-finals of the US Open.
Nadal is heading towards his bid for the 13th French Open title, although he insists: “I take Rome like a preparation for nothing else.”
Earlier, Djokovic defeated Italian Open wild card entry Salvatore Caruso 6-3, 6-2 last year, as his unbeaten record ended the season with 16 defaults for the final time.
The world number one player said, “I didn’t feel like I had any mental or emotional blockage or there was any match-playing drama today.”
Djokovic, who said he had learned a “big lesson”, was eager to move to Rome.
The 33-year-old welcomes an imaginary crowd to the vacant Central Court because of the fickle virus.
Only a few noisy workers managed to unite the 17-time Grand Slam winner after the break point.
“I don’t know who it was, but it was noisy during the points coming from there.
“That’s the one thing we, myself and Caruso also told the chair umpire.”
Djokovic left from his US Open just before he went on to win the Cincinnati Masters at Flushing Meadows Court.
“It was a very good test for me. I handled myself at crucial moments,” said Djokovic, who reached nine finals in Rome and won four.
He next plays 29th-ranked fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic for a place in the quarter-finals.
– Hallep, Azarenka Advance –
Third-seeded Stephanos Tsitipas lost 6–1, 6–7 (9/11), 6–2 to teenager Janik Sinnar of Italy, 6–2, 6–2 to sixth-seeded David Goffin of Croatia, Marin Cilic of Croatia Broke out of.
Top female seed Simona Halep returned a month after winning in Prague to make it easy for 99th-ranked Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-4.
The 28-year-old Romanian said “it was a little difficult to regain the rhythm and relax,” leaving the US Open but bidding for a second French Open title later this month.
The world’s number two, two-time Rome finalist, meets either American Amanda Anisimova or Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska.
US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka In their first round match, American attempted to take Venus Williams 7-6 (9/7), 6–2, from clay courts to clay soil.
Belarusian Azarenka will play third seeded American Sophia Kainin, who is the Australian Open champion, for a place in the third round.
Swiss sixth-seed Belinda Bencic lost to Montenegro in her second-round match of 86th-ranked Danka Kovnik 6-3, 6-1.
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