Rome - In-form Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori withdrew as expected
from the Rome Masters on Monday with the lower back complaint which
forced him to pull out in the third set of Sunday's Madrid final with
However, in a boost to the organisers Roger Federer,
who missed the majority of the Madrid Masters after his wife gave birth
to twin boys last Tuesday, decided to play in the Masters event which
he has never won.
"Oh and btw ciao tutti, I just arrived in bella
Italia! Looking forward to Rome," the Swiss tweeted after a mid-day
arrival in the Italian capital.
Federer hit the practice courts to
begin preparations for a second-round match against French journeyman
Jeremy Chardy, while Nadal also arrived to prepare his bid for an eighth
title at the Foro Italico.
The Spaniard will open play against talented Frenchman Gilles Simon, who beat local wild card Filippo Volandri 6-2, 6-3.
12th seed Grigor Dimitrov had to stage a comeback to defeat Simon's
compatriot Eduardo Roger-Vasselin 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 while the player the
young Bulgarian beat in the recent Bucharest Open final Czech Lukas
Rosol beat Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-2.
The Italian 13th seed left the court to jeers from the spectators.
Dimitrov said that a reason for his sluggish start was adjusting from Madrid's altitude to sea-level in Rome.
"The first couple of matches are always tricky, adjusting to the different conditions," said Dimitrov.
"I was flat in the first set and didn't execute my chances.
had to fight, but in the third set I rose a level. My racquet was
slipping out of my hand at times, but I found a way around it."
Bulgarian said that he asked repeatedly for a plain while towel which
would absorb sweat on his hands but only inefficient new coloured ones
were said to be available.
He next plays Croatian Ivo Karlovic, who beat Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno Busta 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
who won the Barcelona Open on clay last month, had given Nadal a real
scare in the Madrid final before he finally had to call it quits at 2-6,
He now has a fortnight to be ready for the French Open.
the 24-year-old is looking ahead with confidence to Paris after his
breakthrough win in terms of the clay surface in Barcelona and confirmed
that in Madrid.
"It's going to be very exciting at the French
because I've never felt like this on clay. I'm very confident of
whatever I hit," he said.
In the women's tournament, 11th seed Ana Ivanovic beginning with a 6-1, 6-1 rout of unseeded Italian Karin Knapp.
Samantha Stosur upset 15th-seeded Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki
6-3, 6-3 while American 16th seed Sloane Stephens defeated Serb Bojana
Jovanovski 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Italy's former French Open champion
Francesca Schiavone, beat Canadian Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 6-2 with 31
winners against the Australian Open semi-finalist.
ATP Rome Masters/WTA Italian Open results on Monday (x denotes seeded player):
First round:Marcel Granollers (ESP) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 7-5, 6-1
Ivan Dodig (CRO) bt Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-3, 6-4
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x12) bt Eduardo Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) bt Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
Simone Bolelli (ITA) bt Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/5)
Pere Riba (ESP) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-3, 6-3
Madison Keys (USA) bt Alison Riske (USA) 6-2, 6-2
Elena Vesnina (RUS) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-2, 6-3
Ana Ivanovic (SRB x11) bt Karin Knapp (ITA) 6-1, 6-1
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) bt Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 7-5, 6-0
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) bt Peng Shuai (CHN) 6-1, 6-0
Zhang Shuai (CHN) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 6-4, 6-0
Paola Ormaechea (ARG) bt Kurumi Nara (JPN) 6-4, 6-3
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) bt Eugenie Bouchard (CAN x17) 6-4, 6-2