Djokovic and Nadal through in Rome as Isner ousts Wawrinka

Rome Masters Djokovic starts with Rome win, Sharapova snubbed

After being humbled by Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open on Saturday, Djokovic appears to now be much closer to the player who held all four Grand Slam titles midway through 2016 as he looks to mount a challenge not only for his fifth title in Rome but also his second in Paris.

Nadal extended his current winning streak on clay to 17 matches with a 6-3 6-4 win over American Jack Sock in their quarter-final.

Fognini, who failed once again to make it past the third round of his home tournament, had defeated British world No 1 Andy Murray on Tuesday evening to hinder the prospects of the three-time major victor repeating a deep run in Paris where he lost to Novak Djokovic previous year.

Second-seeded Djokovic next plays Juan Martin del Potro after the Argentine ousted seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori 7-6 (4), 6-3.

"I thought I played pretty well out there", said Isner, who is ranked 24th.

The Swiss was broken just once across the two sets but could not make inroads into the powerful serve of his towering opponent, saving match points in vain late in the second before bowing out. I can play a bit more aggressive than the way I played tonight, but overall I'm happy.

The big-serving Croatian now faces John Isner, who shocked world No 3 Stan Wawrinka 7-6 6-4.

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic on Monday said he remains as motivated as ever to reclaim his old position at top of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings, although he has not played his best match this year.

"I've been doing my best to optimise my game. right now, as days are passing by, I feel more comfortable on the court".

The Austrian fought off a double match point at 4-6 in the tiebreaker, then thwarted a third match point at 6-7 before surviving. "I went out there with the belief that, if I played well and executed my game plan, that I could walk off that court with a win".

"It s so different when you re talking about it or when you re playing it", she said.

Earlier, Alexander Zverev (GER x16) beat local favourite Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3.

Qualifier Daria Gavrilova beat seventh-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 and Kiki Bertens won 7-6 (3), 6-1 over Russia's Ekaterina Makarova.

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