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17 May 2018, 02:01 | Anna Jefferson
Tennis Nadal returns to winning ways with Dzumhur demolition
Seven-time champion Nadal - seeking to reclaim the number-one ranking he conceded last week - hammered Dzumhur 6-1 6-0 after Thiem had gone down in three sets to Fabio Fognini, the Austrian smashing a racquet in anger during an intense contest.
Alexander Zverev defeated Dominic Thiem, who knocked out Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final, winning 6-4, 6-4 in the Madrid Masters final.
The 21-year-old from Hamburg next meets Britain's Kyle Edmund, who beat Djokovic in the Madrid second round, and got past Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) in Rome on Wednesday.
"It was important, after a loss in Madrid, to come back strong", the 31-year-old, who received a bye in the opening round, said. "He was pumped today and playing at home and coming off a good win over (Gael) Monfils", said Thiem.
Nadal, who is aiming for an eighth title in the Italian capital, looked in imperious form as he saw off Dzumhur in just 61 minutes.
The 16-time Grand Slam victor next takes on either Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov or Robin Haase.
Novak Djokovic eased past Nikoloz Basilashvili in straight sets to reach the round of 16 of the 2018 Italian Open on Wednesday.
Austrian Dominic Thiem, last week's Madrid finalist, crashed at the first hurdle at the ATP and WTA Italian Open Tuesday as top women's seed Simona Halep demolished Japan's Naomi Osaka.
Osaka had every reason to be confident heading into her clash with Halep after beating her 6-3, 6-0 at Indian Wells in March, but on this occasion, she collapsed after a wasteful start. Due to that, the southpaw not only failed to defend his Madrid title but also had to relinquish the top ranking to his greatest nemesis, Roger Federer.
Maria Sharapova saved two break points in the third set to get past Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
"We're finally connecting and I think that's the most lovely thing", Fognini said of the crowd, which whistled him off the court following an erratic performance a few years ago.
Rafael Nadal celebrates his win at the Rome Masters on WednesdayWhat's the story? Nishikori, now ranked No 24 as he continues his return from injury, was down breaks in both the second and third sets before fighting back to claim a hard-fought victory.
US Open champion Sloane Stephens will play France's Caroline Garcia for a quarter-final place.
Nadal will next face Canada's Denis Shapovalov, who faced a grueling test in battling past Dutchman Robin Haase 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3 in almost two and a half hours.
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