Italy’s prime participant got here out carrying a black shirt with a pink lightning bolt design down his chest and he was energized from the beginning, grazing the flower beds lining the courtroom to return Thiem’s high-bouncing topspin serves and irritating the Austrian with well-placed lobs and contact volleys.
“I played very well today,” mentioned Thiem, who beat Rafael Nadal within the Madrid Open semifinals final week. “It was just him, he was very pumped playing at home.”
Nadal, a seven-time Rome champion, and four-time champion Novak Djokovic additionally superior. Nadal routed 31st-ranked Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-Zero, whereas Djokovic beat Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-Four, 6-2.
“It was important after a loss in Madrid to come back strong. And that’s what I did today,” Nadal mentioned.
Whereas Fognini drop-kicked his racket onto the courtroom after a miss early within the third set, it was Thiem who finally misplaced his cool. Within the ultimate recreation, Thiem smashed his racket right into a mangled wreck and handed it to a befuddled fan within the entrance row.
When Thiem netted a service return two factors later to finish it, the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Military was blasted over the stadium sound system and the group started singing alongside in an environment that extra carefully resembled a soccer recreation than a tennis match.
“We’re finally connecting and I think that’s the most beautiful thing,” Fognini mentioned of the group, which whistled him off the courtroom following an erratic efficiency just a few years in the past. “They lastly perceive me.
“I beat a prime clay-courter,” Fognini added. “I believe I deserved it on the finish. … I ruined just a few flowers however I believe the federation can afford to purchase some new ones.”
Thiem was already looking forward to the French Open, which begins on Might 27.
“It is a loss which isn’t too painful, which is simply motivating me for the following weeks,” the Austrian mentioned.
Final 12 months in Rome, Halep rolled her ankle within the ultimate and misplaced a lead and the championship to Elina Svitolina.
At 5-5 within the third, Pliskova received engaged in a prolonged argument after she had an overhead smash known as out. The chair umpire acknowledged that she “misplaced” the ball mark and subsequently mentioned the purpose must be awarded to Sakkari. On the following level, Sakkari transformed a break then served it out.
Additionally, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens held off a comeback from Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi in a 6-Zero, 5-7, 6-Four victory, and seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia defeated Timea Babos 6-Three, 6-Four.