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Nadal off to winning start in 10th Italian Open title bid

Nadal off to winning start in 10th Italian Open title bid

Rafael Nadal opened his attempt to win a 10th Italian Open title on Wednesday with a straight sets victory over teenager Yannick Sinner to advance to the third round.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner won through 7-5, 6-4 despite a spirited fightback from the 18th-ranked Italian who was twice up a break in the first set before saving six set points.

Sinner was again a break up in the second before Nadal powered back for 4-4 seeing off the Italian on his fourth match point.

“After Madrid it was important to start with a positive feeling,” said Nadal who was beaten in the last eight at both previous Masters events, in Monte Carlo and Madrid.

“Today was a tough match. I think I did a lot of things well. I made mistakes too but combined these with positive things too.”

Nadal, 34, next plays Canadian Denis Shapovalov, the 13th seed, for a place in the quarterfinal.

Top seed Novak Djokovic and second seed Nadal have accounted for 14 of the past 16 titles at Foro Italico.