Goffin battles past Cecchinato to advance in rainy Rome

Wednesday, 2018-05-16 00:25:30
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Belgian David Goffin is the no. 9 seed in Rome. (Photo: Reuters)
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Belgian David Goffin was pushed to three sets by Marco Cecchinato in the second round of the Italian Open on Tuesday before bouncing back to beat the Italian wild card 5-7 6-2 6-2 on a rain-interrupted day in Rome.

Goffin, the ninth seed, got off to a strong start, getting an early break and opening up a 5-1 lead in the first set before abruptly losing momentum and surrendering the next six games in a row to concede the opener tamely.

The 27-year-old rediscovered his touch in the second set, getting two early breaks of serve as Cecchinato's confidence eroded and he ran away with the decider before sealing victory on his second match point with a sizzling crosscourt forehand.

Goffin will meet either big-serving Argentine Juan Martin del Potro or young Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas in the next round.

Tsitsipas, 19, progressed after his first-round opponent Borna Coric retired hurt while 4-1 down in the first set.

Unseeded Denis Shapovalov stunned 15th-seed Tomas Berdych in the first round, with the 19-year-old's 1-6 6-3 7-6(5) victory ensuring he will become the top-ranked Canadian in the world when the revised ATP rankings are released on Monday.

Shapovalov will meet Dutchman Robin Haase in the second round.

Argentine Diego Schwartzman, the 14th seed, advanced to the second round after a regulation 6-4 6-1 victory over Chilean qualifier Nicolas Jarry, while Spaniard Fernando Verdasco was beaten 6-3 6-1 by Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur.

Rain delayed play at the start of the day before disrupting things at the end, with fourth seed Marin Cilic's second round match against American Ryan Harrison suspended with the players level at 3-3 in a first set tiebreak.

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko in action during her second round match against China's Shuai Zhang. (Photo: Reuters)

On the women’s side, Jelena Ostapenko stormed into the third round of the Italian Open on Tuesday with a dominant 6-2 7-5 victory over China's Zhang Shuai on a rain-delayed day in Rome.

The Latvian was at her formidable best, with Zhang unable to deal with her opponent's raw power from the baseline as she succumbed in an hour and 10 minutes in Rome.

Ostapenko, the reigning French Open champion, struck 27 winners to Zhang's 10, as she chalked up her 11th claycourt victory in her past 13 matches stretching back to last season.

The fifth seed will face either Britain's Johanna Konta or Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei for a place in the quarter-finals.

Russia's Maria Sharapova also started with a victory, beating 16th seed Ashleigh Barty 7-5 3-6 6-2 to set up a second-round encounter with Dominika Cibulkova.

Sharapova, a three-times champion in Rome, was given a stern examination by the 22-year-old Australian, and fought her way back from 0-40 down to save serve in the decider before breaking her opponent and running away with the match.

Former world number one Angelique Kerber was also made to work hard against lucky loser Zarina Diyas before prevailing 6-2 7-6(6).

France's Kristina Mladenovic was forced to retire due to injury while trailing Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 3-0, while defending champion Elina Svitolina barely broke a sweat as she saw off Petra Martic 6-1 6-2 to enter the last-16.

Reuters