No sweat as Nadal lose just 1 game and powers into 3rd round at Italian Open
Rome - 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.
Results from the ATP and WTA Masters tournament in Rome on Wednesday (x denotes seeded player):
Simona Halep (ROM x1) bt Naomi Osaka (JPN) 6-1, 6-0
Madison Keys (USA x13) bt Donna Vekic (CRO) 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/0)
Sloane Stephens (USA x9) bt Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-0, 5-7, 6-4
Caroline Garcia (FRA x7) bt Timea Babos (HUN) 6-3, 6-4
Johanna Konta (GBR) bt Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 6-0, 6-4
Maria Sakkari (GRE) bt Karolna Pliskova (CZE x6) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
Darya Kasatkina (RUS x14) bt Danielle Collins (USA) 6-2, 6-3
Anett Kontaveit (EST) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 7-5, 7-5
Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-1, 6-0
Novak Djokovic (SRB x11) bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-4, 6-2
Fabio Fognini (ITA) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT x6) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
Albert Ramos (ESP) bt John Isner (USA x8) 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/5)