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Italian Open: Djokovic, Rune, Rudd advance to round of 32

Rome: Serbian star Novak Djokovic advanced to the round of 32 in the men's singles competition of the ongoing Italian Open on Friday.
The top seed advanced to the next round after a win over Tomas Martin Etcheverry by 7-6(5), 6-2 at the ATP Masters 1000 event. This win was a hard-earned one for Djokovic, who committed 21 unforced errors and appeared physically unwell during a rough first set.
Djokovic said in his on-court interview as quoted by ATP. "It is always a little bit tricky playing someone for the first time. He is a clay-court specialist. He started better than I did, I started pretty slow, but I found my groove towards the end of the first. The second set was good, especially the last three or four games. I am happy with the way I closed out the match."
In crucial phases of the match, the 35-year-old played with more margin and compelled lengthy rallies to surpass the 6'5" Argentine. Although Djokovic had two set points at 4-5 in the first set, he was forced to a tie-break, where he claimed four straight points from 3/5 to seal a thrilling 75-minute set.
Djokovic has a 65-10 Rome record and has never failed to reach the quarter-finals in his 16 appearances in the Italian capital. He is a six-time Rome champion, aiming to clinch a record-extending 39th Masters 1000 crown.
He will lock horns with Grigor Dimitrov in the third round. Dimitrov defeated Stan Wawrinka by 6-4, 7-6(3).
After he reached his first-ever clay court ATP Masters 1000 final last month in Monte Carlo, Holger Rune made a memorable debut at Italian Open with a win over Arthur Fils.
He won the match by 6-3, 6-3.
"He made it tough. He is young, younger than me. It feels kind of crazy because I think this is the second time in my life I am playing someone that's younger. For sure he is in the right direction and I wish him all the best. He is a nice guy," said Rune after the win.
In the third round, Rune will go up against wild card Fabio Fognini. The Italian followed up his three-set victory over Andy Murray in the first round with a surprise victory over the 30th seed Miomir Kecmanovic earlier on Friday.
In another match, Casper Ruud, the fourth seed, beat Arthur Rinderknech 6-4, 6-0 on Friday night to progress as well. The Norwegian successfully converted all four of his break chances while fending off both of his opponent's breakpoints.
Ruud achieved his 10th triumph in Rome, his first time doing so in a single ATP Masters 1000 event.
Ruud will play Alexander Bublik in the third round after the Kazakh defeated 28th seed Ben Shelton 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. (ANI)

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