Rafael Nadal overcame a scare before securing his place in the third round of the Rome Masters with a 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-0 win over Italian qualifier Paolo Lorenzi.
The Spanish world number one struggled to find his rhythm during the opening set and Lorenzi took advantage as he converted his only break-point chance to force a tie-break, which he shaded 7-5.
Nadal began to find his form as the second set unfolded but Lorenzi clung on bravely, saving five of the seven break points that his opponent earned, before losing out 6-4.
That brave effort seemed to take its toll on the Italian in the decider and Nadal was able to ease through it 6-0.
Novak Djokovic continued his astonishing unbeaten run as he racked up a 33rd straight victory as he hammered Lukasz Kubot 6-0 6-3 in a little over an hour, moving the Serbian ever closer to John McEnroe’s record of 42.
Stanislas Wawrinka saw off Filippo Volandri 6-1 3-6 6-2 while former French Open quarter-finalist Juan Ignacio Chela was a 6-4 6-2 victor over Gilles Simon.
In the women’s draw fourth seed Li Na booked her place in round three with a 6-4 6-2 win against Lourdes Dominguez Lino while sixth seed Sam Stosur also enjoyed comfortable progress with a 6-1 7-5 success over Iveta Benesova.
Jelena Jankovic, the fifth seed, marched past Lucie Safarova 6-0 6-3 but former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli is out after losing in straight sets 6-4 6-3 to Anabel Medina Garrigues.
Federer vows to
reclaim No. 1 spot
Roger Federer has spoken of his determination to reclaim the World No. 1 ranking this year. Federer is currently ranked third behind rivals Novak Djokovic and the top ranked Rafael Nadal.
“It is important for me to get to back to being No. 1,” Federer was quoted on the ATP’s official website as saying. “I said this at Wimbledon and it is still very real and very possible. I still have the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in my pocket and I do not have any Grand Slams yet. If I maybe got one of those, things will change drastically all over the place.”
Federer currently trails Nadal by a sizable margin of 3570 points, according to the ATP. However, with the new season only months old there is still time for the 16-time major champion to make a move, but he’ll need to start matching his rivals’ performances. Djokovic is on a 32-match win streak and could overtake Nadal this week if he wins the Rome title and Nadal loses before the semi-final stage. The last time Federer was the top ranked player was at Roland Garros in 2010.