Nadal wins opening match in Rome

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Rome, May 12 (IANS) Spain’s tennis star Rafael Nadal cruised into the third round of the Rome Masters with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber. He will next square off against young and talented Australian Nick Kyrgios.

The fifth-seeded Nadal played at a high level against an opponent who had shown good form in reaching the semi-finals in Barcelona, running his career mark against the German to 13-1 on Wednesday, reports Efe.

The seven-time Rome champion was sharp on serve and dominant from the baseline, showing further evidence that his clay court game was in good shape heading into the French Open, which gets under way on May 22.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion, who received a bye in the first round, lost his serve once in the second set. But that was a mere hiccup in a match in which he put 79 percent of his first serves in play and won 71 percent of his service points.

Nadal, however, could have a tougher test against the big-hitting, 21-year-old Kyrgios, who topped Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 on Wednesday for his third straight victory over the Canadian.

In other action on Wednesday, Serbian World No. 1 and top seed Novak Djokovic, who could be Nadal’s opponent in Friday’s quarter-finals, topped 35-year-old Frenchman Stephane Robert 7-5, 7-5.

The tournament’s second and third seeds, Britain’s Andy Murray and Switzerland’s Roger Federer, defeated Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin and German teenager Alexander Zverev respectively in straight sets.

Ninth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer rallied for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Italian qualifier Filippo Volandri.

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