This content was published 7 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
After a trying few weeks which has seen him drop to number seven in the rankings, a comfortably victory in his first game in Rome was just what Rafael Nadal needed. He got it.
A 62 60 triumph over qualifier Marsel Ilhan was precisely what the doctor ordered. He was untroubled throughout his one hour and 15 minute match to set up a third round match with John Isner on Thursday.
Nadal insisted afterwards despite his rankings drop, he is still performing well on court and on the evidence of this match with Ilhan he has a point.
“I said before the tournament I’m playing better,” he said. “I have to confirm that with results. I did last week. I didn’t play two weeks in a row at the right level but today it was a good start so I’m happy. It’s obvious the result is great and I think the level of tennis was good enough.
“I played against John a few weeks ago in Monte Carlo and I think I played three sets. His serve is abig challenge and he has a very good continuation with his forehand. It is very difficult to play against him as at the end of the day you don’t have a lot of control on things that are going to happen.
“If he serves well you are in big trouble for sure. The only thing that I have to do is stay focused on my serve and if I do play with no mistakes when I’m serving I will try to create opportunities on my return.”
Fabio Fognini kept Italian hopes alive with an impressive performance to beat 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov, winning the final set 60 and he will play Tomas Berdych next in an intriguing third round match.
12th seed Gilles Simon was forced to retire due to a neck injury with Dominic Thiem winning 76(5) 20 at the time.
Kei Nishikori, the fifth seed, is safely through. He beat Jiri Vesely 76(3) 75.