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Nadal Enjoys Routine Win In Rome

Rome, Italy

Nadal© AFP/Getty ImagesRafael Nadal is bidding to win a sixth Rome title.

Five-time former champion Rafael Nadal opened with a 6-1, 7-5 win over German Florian Mayer on Wednesday night at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Nadal, playing his first match since a third-round exit last week in Madrid, did not lose a point behind his first serve in the 26-minute opening set. Though Mayer stayed level with the Spaniard through the first 10 games of the second set, he conceded a late break to give Nadal a chance to serve out the victory.

"Today it was an important first set and I played aggressive," reflected Nadal. "I made a mistake in the first set and then I felt good in the forehand. It is difficult to play against Mayer because he knows how to put you in a difficult position in the game, but I didn't suffer I think."

Nadal has a 32-2 match record at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Rome, winning titles from 2005-07 and '09-10. He lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2011 final.

The Spaniard next plays countryman Marcel Granollers, who won back-to-back tour-level matches for the first time this season as he defeated Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4. Granollers had upset 15th-seeded compatriot Feliciano Lopez in his the first round.

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"You have to be careful when you win and when you lose and with anyone you are playing," said Nadal. "I will resect my opponent and when you play a Masters 1000. Marcel is one of my best friends on tour – it is a great victory for him."

Italy’s top player, Andreas Seppi, kept home country title hopes alive as he battled past World No. 10 John Isner 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-5. The recent Belgrade champion converted on his 12th break point chance to go up the decisive break, 6-5, before serving out the victory after two hours and 50 minutes.

Seppi will face Stanislas Wawrinka for a place in the quarter-finals after the Swiss knocked out another Top 10 player, World No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic, 6-3, 6-1.

A pair of French seeds also won their second-round matches Wednesday. Gilles Simon, the No. 11 seed, needed two hours and 30 minute to get by Spanish qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, while 16th-seeded Richard Gasquet rolled past Italian wild card Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-2 with three breaks of serve.

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