Goffin Overcomes Cecchinato Challenge
Goffin dropped six consecutive games from 5-1 in the opening set to trail the Gazprom Hungarian Open champion (d. Millman), but recovered well, winning 12 of the next 14 games to advance after two hours and four minutes. The World No. 10 improves both his record in the Italian capital, and his record on clay this season, to 8-3.
In front of a packed crowd on Court Pietrangeli, Goffin began the match in top form. The 27-year-old broke in the first game with a successful foray into the net and appeared to be cruising as he attempted to convert set point at 5-2 (40/30), but Cecchinato raced back into contention, winning six consecutive games to take a surprise one-set lead.
Goffin quickly halted the 25-year-old's momentum in the second set with two early service breaks before forcing a deciding set with a love service hold. The Belgian grew in confidence on serve in the third set, winning 16 of 17 service points to race to the finish line, clinching victory with a crosscourt forehand winner on his second match point.
Goffin will meet BNP Paribas Open champion Juan Martin del Potro or #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the quarter-finals. Tsitsipas was leading his first-round match against Borna Coric 4-1 before the Croatian retired due to a neck injury.
Germany's Peter Gojowczyk also reached the third round, defeating another Italian wild card Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-4. The Delray Beach Open runner-up (l. to Tiafoe) won 85 per cent of first-serve points and saved the only break point he faced to reach the third round on his debut in Rome. Gojowczyk will meet Fabio Fognini or sixth seed Dominic Thiem for a place in the quarter-finals.
Fourteenth seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina breezed past Chile's Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 6-1. Schwartzman will next meet Benoit Paire of France. To conclude play on Centrale, fourth seed Marin Cilic and Ryan Harrison were tied at 6-6(3-3) in the first-set tie-break when rain suspended their second-round contest.
Thiem, Zverev Meet Again
Two days after facing off in the Mutua Madrid Open singles final, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem renewed their rivalry on the doubles court in Rome. And, this time, it was Thiem who emerged victorious.
The Austrian-American tandem won 76 per cent of first-serve points and broke serve on three of their five break-point opportunities to confirm a second-round meeting against second seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic.
Juan Martin del Potro and Leonardo Mayer needed three sets to defeat home favourites Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli 6-4, 1-6, 11-9. Fognini and Bolelli dropped five points on serve in a dominant second set to force a Match Tie-break, but it was Del Potro and Mayer who held their nerve to move into the next round.
Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer took 66 minutes to beat Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos 6-4, 6-4. The Dutch duo saved the only break point they faced and converted two of their three break chances to book a second-round clash with sixth-seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.