A year after scoring the first Masters 1000 victory in front of the home fans in Rome, a teenager Jannik Sinner is through to the second round again, beating Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-1 in 64 minutes. The youngster lost 14 points in eight service games, fending off all four break chances and stealing Paire's serve four times to control the scoreboard and march over the finish line.
Asking the organizers to start the campaign on Tuesday, Benoit was frustrated when he found out that he has to compete on Monday, barely trying to win those couple of games and throwing his regular tantrums towards the chair umpire.
Jannik was off to a strong start, losing a couple of points in four service games of the opening set and delivering breaks in games four and eight for a 6-2. The Italian fended off those four break chances in games three and five in set number two, rattling off five straight games to race over the top and celebrate his second Masters 1000 victory.
Suffering an early loss in Kitzbuhel, Kei Nishikori is through to Rome's second round, prevailing over Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 7-6 in two hours and three minutes. It was the first triumph for the Japanese since the US Open last year, fending off both break points and stealing the Spaniard's serve once from ten opportunities to seal the deal in straight sets.
Nishikori saved a break point at 4-4 in the opener, breaking Ramos-Vinolas a few minutes later for a 6-4. The second set went back and forth for 80 minutes despite no breaks, with Ramos-Vinolas repelling five match points on serve in games ten and 12, reaching the tie break that Kei won 7-3 to move over the top.
Marin Cilic defeated Alexander Bublik 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 14 minutes, securing the 112th Masters 1000 triumph. Facing nine break chances, Marin defended them all, losing the opener but finding his strokes in sets two and three for the place in the next round.
Bublik saved a set point on serve at 4-5 in the opener, wasting five break opportunities in the next game but taking the tie break 7-4. Dominating on both serve and return, the Croat sailed through his service games in set number two, stealing Bublik's serve in games one and seven for a 6-2.
Alexander was powerless on the return in the final set too (Marin lost eight points behind the initial shot after the opener), getting broken in the third game and allowing Marin to move over the top with a hold at love in game ten.