Nadal Cruises Past Chardy In Rome
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal wasted no time in his first match Thursday at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, defeating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-1 to reach the third round.
Nadal is now 7-0 at the Foro Italico when he wins a set 6-0, as he chases a record-extending ninth title at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament. The Spaniard is trying to break a tie with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic by winning his 34th Masters 1000 trophy.
"It was a good start today," Nadal said. "[I'm] happy with that victory and happy because it was one hour, and that's important for what's coming up."
Nadal will face big-hitting No. 14 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili later in the day due to Wednesday's rain washout. The Georgian advanced to the third round on Tuesday. The pair's only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting on clay came at 2017 Roland Garros, with Nadal triumphing 6-0, 6-1, 6-0. Basilashvili pushed the Spaniard to four sets at last year's US Open.
"It's a tough one. He's a tough player, very dangerous. He hits the ball very strong," Nadal said. "He already won two great matches here so it's going to be a big challenge, but it's a good test for me."
It was possible that Nadal could face Dominic Thiem, who has beat him in three consecutive years on clay, in the quarter-finals if both players won their two matches Thursday. But Fernando Verdasco upset the Austrian in the second round.
Did You Know?
Nadal has now been inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for 734 consecutive weeks, tying Roger Federer’s longest run from 2002-16. Former World No. 1 Jimmy Connors holds the record of 789 consecutive weeks in the Top 10.