ATP Rome: Fabio Fognini stuns Dominic Thiem! Rafael Nadal tops Dzumhur

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ATP Rome: Fabio Fognini stuns Dominic Thiem! Rafael Nadal tops Dzumhur

World number 2 and a seven-time Rome champion (the last title came in 2013, though) Rafael Nadal is safely through to the third round, defeating the Bosnian Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-0 in exactly an hour for his 19th win of the season and 52nd in the Italian capital in 58 matches! Nadal arrived in Rome after a quarter-final loss in Madrid to Dominic Thiem and he played on a very high level, losing just nine points on serve to avoid break points and cementing his win with a dominant run on the return as well, winning 60% of the points in Damir's games and breaking him five times from eight chances to move inside the last 16 where he would meet an in-form Denis Shapovalov or Robin Haase.

Nadal had 17 winners and nine errors while Dzumhur could only hit five winners with 26 mistakes, losing the battle with a mighty opponent in both the shortest and more extended rallies. Rafa held at 15 in the opening game of the match with a service winner and he gained a break in game two when Damir's backhand finished in the net.

The Bosnian wasted two game points at 0-3 and Nadal broke him after a long rally that moved the Spaniard a double break up. Damir avoided a bagel after saving a break point in game six but Rafa closed the set with a forehand down the line winner a few minutes later for a 6-1 after 34 minutes.

Determined to finish the match in the best possible manner, Nadal broke at the start of the second set with a forehand return winner and he was 3-0 in front after a double fault from Damir in game three, sealing towards the finish line.

Dzumhur was powerless on the return and he got broken again in game five, allowing Nadal to serve for the match in the following game. The Spaniard cemented his win with a forehand down the line winner in game six for his most dominant win in Rome after toppling Robin Soderling by the same score in 2009.

Despite the home support, Fabio Fognini has never managed to bring his best tennis at the Foro Italico but he was always motivated against the top players, beating Andy Murray 12 months ago and taking another big scalp today after a 6-4 1-6 6-3 triumph over the 6th seed and Madrid finalist Dominic Thiem. The Austrian had lost just eight games in the previous two encounters against Fabio but it wasn't his day, facing 12 break points and getting broke thrice.

He wasn't that far behind Fognini, winning one point more than the Italian thanks to that dominant second set but he broke his rival three times from six break points but never in the decider. Fabio had 28 winners and 36 unforced errors and that topped Thiem's 17-33 ratio, ousting the last year's semi-finalist in the longer points to earn his win.

Fabio drew first blood with a backhand down the line winner in game three and Thiem had to save another break point in game seven with a service winner to avoid an even bigger setback. That could prove to be very important when he broke back in game eight to level the score at 4-4 but Fabio stayed focused, breaking for the second time in game nine and closing the set with a hold at 15 in game 10 after 41 minutes.

The Austrian raised his level in set number two, dropping five points on serve and racing into a 5-0 lead before he closed the set on own serve. He broke Fabio in game two and once again at 3-0 when he forced an error from his rival, closing the set at 5-1 after an unforced error from Fognini who lost his ground in this part of the match.

Nonetheless, a home player recovered his shots in the decider, creating five break points in game six but squandering all to miss a great chance of moving ahead. Carried by this momentum, Dominic created two break points in the following game that could give him the crucial lead but Fabio saved them with a service winner and a deep attack that Thiem could only place into the net.

Fognini gained the break in game eight when Thiem's forehand landed long and he sealed the deal with a service winner in the next game to book his place in the third round. Second round results:


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