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  • Chris Sobey


The Rome Masters is now well underway and so far the biggest talking points have been Gael Monfils seeded 14, who was carrying an ankle injury picked up at Madrid last week, crashing out in the first round against the unseeded Thomaz Belluci 6-3 7-6, clay court specialist Pablo Cuevas losing his first round encounter against serve and volley specialist Nicholas Mahut and home favourite and clay court specialist Fabio Fognini crashing out at the first round stage against veteran Spaniard Garcia-Lopez.

Fourth seed Stan Wawrinka and sixth seed Kei Nishikori were the first of the big guns to progress to the third round yesterday, but both had to work hard coming from a set down against Paire and Troicki respectively. The remainder of the big guns, top seed Djokovic, second seed Murray, third seed Federer and fifth seed Nadal are all in action today and Federer, who missed Madrid due to a lower back problem, looks to have potentially the toughest test against teenage star Alexander Zverev.

Eighth seed Tomas Berdych progressed to the third round without any drama seeing off Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets. David Goffin seeded 12 is also through to the third round after overcoming a potentially difficult encounter against Jack Sock 6-4 6-4.

Ninth seed David Ferrer also struggled in his first round match against Italian veteran and qualifier Volandri, who he came from a set down to beat 4-6 7-5 6-1. He faces a potentially tougher encounter today against compatriot Garcia-Lopez, who knocked out Fognini in straight sets yesterday, but Ferrer did beat him at Madrid last week 3-6 6-1 6-2 so should progress to the third round.

Finally, tenth seed Milos Raonic had to work hard against Italian Checchinato in the first round winning 6-4 4-6 6-4 and he is sure to face a much tougher test today against the unseeded Nick Kyrgios, who has been in decent form on the red dirt over the last fortnight.

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