Federer, Nadal and Osaka through to last 16 in RomeRoger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Naomi Osaka booked their respective places in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open.advertisement Reuters RomeMay 16, 2019UPDATED: May 16, 2019 20:17 IST Roger Federer is making a return to the Italian Open for the first time since 2016 (Reuters Photo)HIGHLIGHTSRoger Federer defeated Joao Sousa 6-4 6-3 in the second roundRafael Nadal demolished Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-0 6-1Naomi Osaka beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-3 in the day’s openerFormer world number one Roger Federer marked his return to the Italian Open for the first time since 2016 with a 6-4 6-3 second-round win over Joao Sousa on Thursday.The Swiss had criticised organisers for doubling ticket prices after he confirmed his participation last weekend but the fans who had made their way into Foro Italico on Thursday have been rewarded with a Federer double bill.With rain having washed out Wednesday’s play, Federer along with champion Rafael Nadal and top seed Novak Djokovic all face playing back-to-back matches on Thursday if they want to reach the quarter-finals.The backlog means that fans on the secondary Grandstand Court can also look forward to a blockbuster schedule as Federer will be back for an evening showdown with Croatian Borna Coric.Earlier in the day, Nadal had treated the Grandstand fans to a 6-0 6-1 demolition of Frenchman Jeremy Chardy and the Spaniard will be back on action on the main stage against Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.Women’s world number one Naomi Osaka produced a solid performance to beat Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-3 in the day’s opener.Djokovic, fresh from winning last week’s Madrid Open, was playing Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the round of 32. A clash with either Philipp Kohlschreiber or Marco Cecchinato will be the winner’s reward.The 37-year old Federer moved around the court like his younger self as he rifled in 17 winners in the opening set, having broken Sousa in the seventh game before he saved a triple break point, the last one with a stunning crosscourt forehand.advertisementHaving broken Sousa’s serve in the opening game of the second set, the Swiss maestro was at his best again in the seventh as he saved a double break point and went on to wrap up the entertaining contest.”I came out of the blocks well and held serve throughout, so I am very happy to be in the next round,” said Federer.”I played today already and Borna didn’t. I don’t know whether it’s a disadvantage or not but either way it’s going to be tough.”After crashing out in the semi-finals on home soil in Madrid, Nadal wasted no time in making a statement of intent as he blew away Chardy.Nadal won 80 per cent of the points on both his first and second serve as he tormented the Frenchman with a barrage of stinging baseline shots.Osaka made a slow start against Cibulkova as the Slovakian broke the world number one in the third game of the opening set but regained her composure quickly.The Japanese served two aces to save a double break point in the eighth game and enjoyed plain sailing for the rest of the tie after clinching the game with a service winner.In the men’s draw, Fernando Verdasco ground out a surprise 4-6 6-4 7-5 win over fifth seed Dominic Thiem, as did Jan-Lennard Struff with a 6-2 6-3 hammering of Marin Cilic.Also Read | Novak Djokovic has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked: Nick KyrgiosFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Tags :Follow Roger FedererFollow Rafael NadalFollow Naomi OsakaFollow Quarter-finalsFollow Italian OpenFollow Rome Next
Belo Horizonte: A Lionel Messi penalty salvaged a 1-1 draw for Argentina against Paraguay as the two-time world champions once again struggled at the Copa America. Messi swept in a 57th-minute spot-kick at Belo Horizonte’s Mineirao Stadium to cancel out a first-half opener from Paraguay’s Richard Sanchez. Argentina also had goalkeeper Franco Armani to thank for a second half penalty save that prevented Paraguay from taking a 2-1 lead in the Group B battle. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ MedvedevThe draw left Argentina with one point from two games and on the bottom of the table with one game remaining. However with the two best third placed teams advancing to the quarter-finals, Argentina can still reach the last eight with a decisive win over Qatar in their final group game. The South American giants will need to raise their game however to advance any further after another disjointed performance which followed their opening defeat to Colombia on Saturday. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’shipsA lacklustre opening saw both sides struggle to generate any sort of attacking momentum, with neither side managing to get a shot on goal until Paraguay striker Derlis Gonzalez’s effort was deflected behind for a corner in the 29th minute. From the ensuing setpiece, centre-half Junior Alonso scooped a half-chance wide as Argentina escaped. That flurry of activity spurred Argentina fleetingly at the other end, with Lautaro Martinez winning a free-kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the area after a foul by Paraguay skipper Gustavo Gomez. Messi however was unable to conjure anything from the free-kick, floating his effort up and over the wall but without the pace to trouble goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez, who gathered comfortably. In the 37th minute however, Paraguay’s more organised performance got its reward. A swift counter-attack saw the ball transferred to Newcastle United’s Miguel Almiron near halfway. The livewire forward turned on the after-burners to roast Roberto Pereya down the left wing before crossing for Sanchez who drove a low finish into the bottom corner of the Argentina net. A rattled Argentina were given a huge let-off moments later when Armani came racing out of his area to shut down Gonzalez. A wild kick brought down the Paraguayan player but Armani somehow escaped a red card and was only cautioned. Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni went for broke at half-time, bolstering his attack with the introduction of Sergio Aguero and the move paid instant dividends. Aguero deftly lost his marker on 51 minutes and pulled back for Martinez, whose shot cannoned off the woodwork. Messi pounced on the rebound but Fernandez blocked with a diving save. The chance appeared to have gone begging but VAR had spotted that Martinez’s shot had in fact struck Ivan Piris’s arm before hitting the bar and Brazilian referee Wilson Sampaio pointed to the spot. Messi stepped up to sweep in the spot-kick and Argentina were level. Yet there was more drama in the 62nd minute when Paraguay’s Gonzalez burst into the box and was clumsily hacked down by Nicolas Otamendi for a clear penalty. Armani, who was fortunate to be on the pitch, dived the right way and parried Gonzalez’s spot-kick wide.