Rome | Nadal and Draper suffer defeats; Tsitsipas conquers his emotions.

A fascinating day in the Italian capital as the second round in the bottom half of the Rome Masters men’s draw, saw a large number of the sports marquee players just squeeze through to play another day.

The decision, as you can imagine, is not clear in my mind today, Rafa Nadal

Rafa Nadal and Jack Draper unfortunately for their respective supporters, weren’t amongst the day’s winners and with the Spaniard’s loss his appearance at the French Open was immediately cast into doubt.

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz limited his Roman run to just one victory as he was able to dominate the 10-time former champion with his serve to secure a very satisfying 6-1 6-3 victory over the Spanish icon in what will most likely be his last appearance at the event.


Rafael Nadal congratulates Hubert Hurkacz on his win

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, in view of his comments leading up to the event indicating that he wouldn’t play Roland Garros if he didn’t feel fit enough, the question was raised immediately following the quick 93-minute loss.

“The decision, as you can imagine, is not clear in my mind today,” Nadal, the 14-time French Open champion said.

“But if I have to say what’s my feeling and if my mind is closer one way or the other way, I’m going to say ‘be in Roland Garros and try my best’.

“Physically, I have some issues, but not probably yet enough to say not playing in the most important event of my tennis career.”

He doesn’t have much time to make that decision with the French Open due to start on May 26!

British number two Jack Draper held his own for much of his match against the second seed Daniil Medvedev, the defending champion, but the Russian proved too experienced as he found a way to negate the 22-year-old’s power and secure his expected place in round three.

He won 7-5 6-4 after one-hour 47-minutes and will face Serbian qualifier Hamad Medjedovic in the last 32 who in turn, upset Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6(3) 6-4.

British interest will now focus on Cameron Norrie who beat Spain’s Jaume Munar 6-3 1-6 6-3.

The 28-year-old, seeded 27, survived a scare when he lost his concentration in the second set but fortunately, regained his composure in the decider to progress to the next round where he will face the seventh seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas, who struggled against Germany’s 33-year-old Jan-Lennard Struff.


Stefanos Tsitsipas was put through a wringer

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Tsitsipas himself admitted he wasn’t in the best frame of mind when he stepped out on court as his girlfriend for the past year, tennis player Paula Badosa, had ended their relationship.

He did manage to pull himself together to win 6-7(1) 6-4 6-4 after a gruelling two-hours 31-minutes but not before he had smashed a racket against an advertising board in the opening moments of the second round match!

The Greek icon didn’t refer to the incident when interviewed after the match but did admit he was dealing with ‘a lot of emotions’.

“I can’t really process what happened,” he said. “There was a lot of attention, a lot of emotions, a lot of fighting; it was insane.

“I really don’t know what worked and what didn’t, I just tried to win the match and the outcome was beyond spectacular.

“I managed to come back and get over those really difficult moments.

“I really don’t know what I was doing out on the court until the middle of the second set.

“I felt really lost out there and I don’t think I’ve felt this way in a long time.

“It was really difficult dealing with emotions like this and I don’t think I’ve had a match in my life that had so many negative emotions that overtook me; it was a very tricky and weird situation.

“I’ve got to improve my mindset entering matches.

“Today was not a good way to show my mindset at the beginning of the match. I was not zoned in, not concentrating.

“I need to start matches a bit stronger, find my rhythm. I know I’m good on this surface, so I hope that I can improve and come into the next match feeling stronger.”


Andrey Rublev faces his problems

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

At about the same time Andrey Rublev also found himself fighting for survival after dropping the first set and then pushed hard in the decider by American Marcus Giron to pull off 5-7 6-4 7-5 victory.

He in fact lost his serve in the ninth game of the third leaving his American opponent the opportunity to serve out for the match. The pressure on the world No.49 eliminating the fourth seed from Russia and last week’s Madrid Open champion, obviously got to Giron who immediately dropped his serve to love tleaving Rublev to go on and claim his allotted third round place on his third match point. There Frenchman Alexander Muller who upset his compatriot Arthur Fils 7-5 6-3, awaits.

Meanwhile Holger Rune, seeded 10, sealed his third-round place with a powerful performance to dispatch Italy’s Luca Nardi 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 43-minutes.

The Dane will play against Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, a 7-6(4) 7-6(6) winner over Serbia’s Dussan Lajovic.



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