Nadal extends winning streak to 16 when Almagro retires

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Rafael Nadal has continued his remarkable winning streak on clay in 2017, although not in the manner he would have expected after Nicolas Almagro was forced to retire.

John Isner, of the USA, celebrates after winning his match against Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Thursday, May 18, 2017. A match can be an opportunity for an act of sportsmanship.

John Isner, of the USA, serves the ball to Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka during their match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

"I know Guga win three French Opens, so now I am nearly four times better than him". I am very proud and humbled by the achievement. "So will be another tough battle tomorrow".

The 30-year-old Nadal is set to play the next round against the victor of the duel between American Jack Sock and Czech Jiri Vesely. "On every surface. I think I am playing great events in all the surfaces since the beginning of the year".

"Grass obviously is where he feels the most comfortable", Djokovic said. Television replays showed the ball was out.

Third seed Stan Wawrinka avenged his defeat by unpredictable Frenchman Benoit Paire in Madrid last week when the 2015 French Open champion won a topsy-turvy match 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.

"It's a situation for me where I'm going out there against the No. 3 player in the world".

"So maybe I skip the small tournaments and focus on the bigger ones".

The Austrian survived a barrage of big-hitting from Querrey to prevail 3-6 6-3 7-6 in a titanic contest which lasted almost two hours.

Defending champion and men's No. 1 Andy Murray crashed out after losing 6-2, 6-4 to Fabio Fognini yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Second seed Karolina Pliskova beat Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-1, Madrid victor Simona Halep started with a win over Germany's Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-4 and eighth seed Elina Svitolina put out Alize Cornet 6-4, 7-6 (13/11).

Garbine Muguruza has emerged as a favourite to win the title after beating Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko.

"I love this tournament, and I love Rome", Williams said.

"I am happy to be here again, happy the way I am playing, and let's see what happens tomorrow".

"You know, he's very smart in his decision-making".

Nadal will next face 13th-seeded Jack Sock, who beat Jiri Vesely 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (1) after more than 2 1/2 hours.

Top-ranked Angelique Kerber, meanwhile, lost her opening match at the Foro Italico in Rome to Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 0-6.

Nadal suggested that the decision was made well ahead of its announcement and would have been taken as a strategy move by the 35-year-old's coaching team.

Sixth-seeded Halep beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.

Eighth-seeded Elina Svitolina eliminated Alize Cornet of France 6-4 7-6 (13-11), and 15th-seeded Kiki Bertens beat American qualifier CiCi Bellis 6-4 6-0.

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