ATP Rome - Schedule: Nadal, Djokovic, Zverev to play

Fognini fires up Italian Open crowd with win over Thiem

Bulgarian third seed Grigor Dimitrov also suffered an early exit, going out to Japan's Kei Nishikori after a marathon 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-4 battle. "I don't know how many mistakes I did, but not much", said Nadal.Djokovic, a four-time victor, is on the comeback trail three months after elbow surgery and eased past Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2. I also had control, more or less, of a high percentage of the points. The Spaniard didn't face a break point in his match against Dzumhur, who won his sole game after dropping the first five of the first set.

In other seeded action, second-seeded German Alexander Zverev bested Italian wild card Matteo Berrettini 7-5, 6-2.

"I just really wanted to win this match against a really classy player", said the five-time Grand Slam champion. "But I think this is the first match of the year that I've felt like this", insisted Osaka, who struggled with her backhand. "They finally understand me. I ruined a few flowers but I think the federation can afford to buy some new ones". The 2017 semifinalist Dominic Thiem opens his run against the local hero Fabio Fognini, who a year ago beat Andy Murray at this stage of the event and could be a threat for the Austrian.

Thiem was already looking ahead to the French Open, which starts on May 27.

The three-time champion Maria Sharapova will play against Dominika Cibulkova to end the day session.

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Nadal will next face Canada's Denis Shapovalov, who faced a grueling test in battling past Dutchman Robin Haase 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3 in almost two and a half hours.

At 5-5 in the third, Pliskova got engaged in a lengthy argument after she had an overhead smash called out. Osaka, 20, failed to convert any of her six break point opportunities, hitting 29 unforced errors to Halep's 14.

After the match, Pliskova didn't shake hands with the chair umpire and struck the chair several times with her racket.

Halep reached the final in Rome previous year and needs to reach the quarter-finals this time to retain her world number one ranking.She next plays 13th-seeded American Madison Keys, who battled past Croatian Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/0), for a place in the last eight.France's Caroline Garcia, a semi-finalist in Madrid last week, eased past Hungary's Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4, and will next face US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Former No. 1 Angelique Kerber rallied past Irina-Camelia Begu 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, and 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina eliminated American qualifier Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-3.

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