It was an absolutely packed day at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia with a total of 27 singles matches—13 men’s, 14 women’s, all second round—taking the court at the joint ATP World Tour and WTA event.
Here are 10 takeaways from Wednesday’s results:
Nadal got back on track in a big way. His 21-match, 50-set clay-court winning streak came to an end in Madrid last week at the hands of Dominic Thiem, but Rafael Nadal got right back on track in his opening match in Rome on Wednesday, steamrolling Damir Dzumhur in just 60 minutes, 6-1, 6-0.
“It was important, after a loss in Madrid, to come back strong. And that’s what I did today,” Nadal told ATPWorldTour.com following the match. “I don’t know how many mistakes I made, but not many.”
Nadal will have to come back strong, again, tomorrow in Rome: Denis Shapovalov, semifinalist in Madrid and conqueror of Tomas Berdych and Robin Haase in third sets in Rome, awaits the King of Clay.
There won’t be a Nadal vs. Thiem rematch in the quarterfinals. That dream match-up is no longer possible after the sixth-seeded Thiem lost to Fabio Fognini, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. Fognini could be dangerous for Nadal too, though—the Italian No. 1 has beaten him three times before, including twice on clay.
Zverev’s winning streak has hit double digits. Alexander Zverev beat Italian wild card Matteo Berrettini at night, 7-5, 6-2, to extend his winning streak to 10 matches in a row (the first nine bringing him back-to-back titles in Munich and Madrid). Zverev has also won his last 20 sets in a row.
To top that off, the world No. 3 held all 10 of his service games against Berrettini on Wednesday night, meaning he’s now held his last 61 service games in a row (the last time he dropped serve was in the third game of the second set of his 6-3, 6-3 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber in the Munich final).
WATCH—Match point from Zverev's win over Thiem in Madrid title:
Nishikori took out Dimitrov on his birthday. The biggest upset of the day on paper was Kei Nishikori’s marathon two-hour-and-55-minute 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4 win over the No. 3 seed, Grigor Dimitrov. Dimitrov, who was celebrating his 27th birthday, was up a break in both the second and third sets.
Djokovic is a win away from his first quarterfinal of the year. Former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic followed up his 6-1, 6-3 first-round win over Alexandr Dolgopolov with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Nikoloz Basilishvili, and he’s now a win away from his first ATP tour quarterfinal of the season.
“The last 12 to 15 months haven’t been that great,” Djokovic, a four-time winner in Rome, said earlier this week. “Hopefully I can get a few more matches in Rome than I have in the last couple of months.”
Del Potro’s back on the winning track, too. Having lost to No. 95-ranked Dusan Lajovic in the third round of Madrid last week, Juan Martin del Potro outdid Greek rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas in his opening match in Rome, 7-5, 6-3. The fifth-seeded Argentine plays ninth-seeded David Goffin next.
US men went 0-3 on the day, though none of them went down easily. Ryan Harrison lost to No. 4 seed Marin Cilic, 6-7 (3), 6-1, 7-6 (1), Steve Johnson fell to No. 10 seed Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, and No. 8 seed John Isner fell to Albert Ramos-Vinolas despite 30 aces, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5).
US women went 3-1, though. America’s Top 3 women—Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys—all moved through to the third round, with Danielle Collins falling to Daria Kasatkina.
Williams overcame one of her toughest match-ups in Elena Vesnina, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5—Vesnina had won four of their six career meetings going in and served for this one at 5-4 in the third set, too.
Sharapova’s picking up steam. Since three straight first round losses at Doha, Indian Wells and Stuttgart, Maria Sharapova’s 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Dominika Cibulkova on Wednesday was her fifth win in her last six matches. The Russian is a three-time champion in Rome—in 2011, 2012 and 2015.
The women’s No. 1 ranking is still up for grabs. The WTA’s Top 2 players both won on Wednesday, No.1 Simona Halep avenging her Indian Wells loss to Naomi Osaka in just 59 minutes, 6-1, 6-0, and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki beating Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-1, 6-4. Halep needs to reach at least the quarterfinals and finish one round further than Wozniacki to keep her No. 1 ranking from the Dane.
ATP Rome (5/13 - 5/20)
-Tennis Channel Plus features five courts of live action from the Internazionali BNL d'Italia beginning Sunday, May 13 at 5:00 am ET!