Nadal, Djokovic Breeze Through; Federer Survives in Rome

Roger Federer saved two match points against Borna Coric to advance to the quarterfinals of the Italian Open on Thursday as defending champion Rafael Nadal and top seed Novak Djokovic raced through in straight sets.

Federer came through 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) against 13th seed Coric after earlier beating Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3 in the second round as players doubled up after rain wiped out play on Wednesday.

Federer, a four-time finalist in Rome, trailed 0-4 before dropping the first set, coming back in the second and saving two match points in the third set tie-break.

The Swiss maestro next plays Greek eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Monte Carlo Masters champion Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3.

Nadal, meanwhile, dropped just two games throughout the day, dispatching Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-0 in the third round after earlier also dropping just one game against France’s Jeremy Chardy.

The Spanish superstar next plays compatriot Fernando Verdasco as he targets a first title on clay this season before his French Open defence.

Djokovic, winner in Madrid last Sunday, beat German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-0 after earlier easing past Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 6-3.

The four-time Italian Open winner next plays Argentine seventh seed Juan Martin Del Potro for a place in the semifinals.

However, Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios was disqualified after a foul-mouthed rant during his third-round match against Norway’s Casper Ruud which could land him with a lengthy suspension.

Kyrgios saw his tournament finish early after he threw a chair across court in a tantrum, before storming off and being disqualified.

The controversial 24-year-old, who had marked his presence in Rome by criticising Djokovic and Nadal in an interview on Wednesday, started arguing with the umpire in the third set.

World number 36 Kyrgios had levelled the match at one set all but was given a game penalty early on in the third set for swearing.

His response was to kick out at a water bottle before throwing a chair onto the court, packing his bag and then storming off court, shouting ‘I am f***** done’’

Kyrgios was automatically disqualified with Ruud winning 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 2-1 to advance to the third round before losing to del Potro.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori got past American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4 and then Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany in three sets.

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