World no. 23 David Goffin has secured the 67th Masters 1000 triumph, ousting a former Rome finalist Stan Wawrinka 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 in an hour and 55 minutes. Playing against each other for the first time since Indian Wells 2016, the struggling Belgian played on a high not throughout the match to deliver the tenth victory of the season, fending off six out of eight break points and dominating on the return in sets two and three to move into the second round.
Stan made too many errors and this was far from his Madrid level, suffering six breaks from ten chances offered to David and ending his run in the opening round in the week he is back inside the top-30 after almost a year.
After seven easy holds on both sides, Wawrinka secured the first break in game eight and closed the opener with another one at 5-4 after a double fault from Goffin. The Belgian was the only player on the court after that, rattling off 12 of the last 14 games to deliver a bagel in the second set and move over the finish line after a forehand error from Stan in the eighth game of the decider.
Diego Schwartzman claimed the 24th Masters 1000 win, beating Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 12 minutes, getting broken twice and clinching five breaks to control the scoreboard and bring the match home in no time at all.
Nishioka kicked off the match in strong fashion, breaking the Argentinian in the first game before fading from the court, dropping 11 of the next 12 games to find himself 6-1, 5-1 down. The Japanese pulled one break back in the eighth game of the second set and that was all we saw from him, with Schwartzman sealing the deal after hold in game ten for the place in the last 32.
A qualifier Taylor Fritz took down Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 15 minutes for one of his best wins on clay, losing only 12 points on serve and delivering one break in each set from nine opportunities in total for the 13th Masters 1000 victory.
Taylor forced an error from Guido in the fourth game to open a 3-1 lead, missing two set points on the return in game eight before closing the opener with an ace in game nine for a 6-3. A left-hander sprayed a forehand error in the third game of the second set and that was enough for Fritz to control the scoreboard until the end, hitting a forehand winner in game ten to wrap up the triumph and kick off Rome campaign in the best possible way.
Radu Albot needed an hour and 26 minutes to topple Benoit Paire while Jeremy Chardy overpowered Richard Gasquet in the match that had to be postponed last night due to the rain. In one of the clashes of the day, Nick Kyrgios took down the 12th seed Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in swift an hour and 33 minutes for the tenth win of the season, losing only 18 points on serve and fending off three out of four break points.
Never finding the rhythm or the way to impose longer rallies, Daniil got broken once in sets he lost, finishing the match with 31 winners and 24 unforced errors while Kyrgios counted to 41 winners and 21 errors, staying focused despite some usual tantrums at the end of the second set.
The Aussie gave his best to keep the points on his racquet, delivering underarm serves (he opened the duel with one of those) and outplaying the Russian in the shortest points to forge the win and march into the second round.
Nick barely lost a point on serve in the opening set, breaking Daniil in game four and racing towards 6-3 with a hold in game nine. Medvedev earned a break at 4-3 in the second set and was the favorite in the decider, only to trail 3-0 after just a couple of minutes, with Kyrgios staying in the match and delivering that crucial break in game two.
The Aussie defended two break points in game seven to stay ahead and crossing the finish line with four aces at 5-3, happy with the way he performed today.