ROME: Rafael Nadal advanced to the Rome Masters third round on Wednesday when fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro was forced to quit with a left knee injury.
Three-time French Open quarter-finalist Almagro — he lost all three to Nadal — was unable to continue after just 24 minutes while trailing his compatriot 3-0 in the first set.
It was a 50th win for Nadal in Rome and he is on a hot streak after sweeping the titles on clay at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and last weekend in Madrid.
“I am happy with almost everything, I am playing well. I won a lot of matches this year,” said the fourth seed, who next faces Jack Sock as he builds up to Roland Garros where he will be chasing a 10th title.
Nadal though was distressed to see Almagro injured who he also helped from the court.
Joining Nadal in the next round was Swiss third seed Stan Wawrinka, who beat Benoit Paire 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 while Canadian fifth seed Milos Raonic ended the Rome run of 39-year-old Tommy Haas, 6-4, 6-3.
In women’s play, world number one Angelique Kerber crashed out, the top seed beaten 6-4, 6-0 in the second round by Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.
The German’s 56-minute knock-out came two days after she was confirmed at the top of the WTA rankings, displacing Serena Williams after making it to the third round at last week’s Madrid Open.
Results (x denotes seeding):
Second round: Alexander Zverev (GER x16) bt Viktor Troicki (SRB) 6-3, 6-4; Milos Raonic (CAN x5) bt Tommy Haas (GER) 6-4, 6-3; Stan Wawrinka (SUI x3) bt Benot Paire (FRA) 6-3, 1-6, 6-3; Dominic Thiem (AUT x8) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4; Sam Querrey (USA) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-4, 6-3; Jack Sock (USA x13) bt Jir Vesel (CZE) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/1); Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) bt Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 3-0 – retired Kei Nishikori (JPN x7) bt David Ferrer (ESP) 7-5, 6-2; Juan Martn Del Potro (ARG) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR) 7-5, 6-4; Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) bt Pablo Carreo-Busta (ESP x15) 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 6-4.
Second round: Anett Kontaveit (EST) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x1) 6-4, 6-0; Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x12) bt Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 7-6 (7/4), 6-2; Simona Halep (ROM x6) bt Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-4, 6-4; Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) bt Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x4) 1-6, 6-1, 6-3; Kiki Bertens (NED x15) bt Catherine Bellis (USA) 6-4, 6-0; Daria Gavrilova (AUS) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA) 7-5, 3-6, 6-3; Venus Williams (USA x9) bt Lesya Tsurenko (UKR) 6-4, 6-3; Julia Goerges (GER) bt Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-1; Garbie Muguruza (ESP x3) bt Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 2-6, 6-2, 6-1; Elina Svitolina (UKR x8) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-4, 7-6 (13/11); Mona Barthel (GER) bt Qiang Wang (CHN) 6-3, 6-4; Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) bt Barbora Strycova (CZE x14) 6-4, 6-2; Karolna Pliskova (CZE x2) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 6-1, 6-1.