Fourth seed Thiem battles into Italian Open third round

ROME (AFP) – Austrian fourth seed Dominic Thiem rallied from a set down to battle past Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics into the third round of the ATP Italian Open yesterday.

US Open champion Thiem, a semi-finalist in Madrid last week, won 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-0 in two hours and 33 minutes against 44th-ranked Fucsovics in the clay-court tournament which acts as a warm-up for the French Open.

Thiem, twice a runner-up at Roland Garros, will next play Italian Lorenzo Sonego who beat wildcard Gianluca Mager 6-4, 6-4, in a match in front of spectators, with 25 per cent capacity allowed at the Foro Italico after the early rounds were played behind closed doors.

Sixth seed Alexander Zverev of Germany eased past Bolivian Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-2 to set up a third round meeting with Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

Russian Andrey Rublev, seventh seed, advanced past Germany Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7/9), 6-1, 6-4.

Meanwhile, world number one Ashleigh Barty also advanced to the third round of the Italian Open in Rome yesterday with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova.

Austria’s Dominic Thiem returns a shot. PHOTO: AFP

Days after her shock defeat in the Madrid Open final, the Australian overcame an early break of serve to see off Shvedova, a three-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist making her way back after giving birth to twins.

Playing with her left thigh strapped, Barty dropped her opening service game but rallied to level at 4-4, taking control of the match against Shvedova on the red clay of the Foro Italico.

Barty will next meet 28th-ranked Russian Veronika Kudermetova as she bids for a first Rome quarter-final on her third appearance.

Kudermetova beat France’s 56th-ranked Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-4.

Former Rome champion Karolina Pliskova, seeded ninth, also advanced past Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-2, 6-3.

Czech Pliskova, winner in 2019 and runner-up last year, built on her powerful serve, and converted six of her 13 break point chances.

The former world number one next plays Russian Vera Zvonareva who ousted Czech 11th seed Petra Kvitova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine dropped a set before advancing past American Amanda Anisimova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.