Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem will be skipping this week's event in Rome, but many other top names will be in action. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic along with the King of Clay Rafael Nadal spent Monday on the practice courts, preparing to begin their respective campaigns.
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After six long months of no competitive tennis, Nadal is back and will be kicking off his return on his favorite surface. The world No. 2 doesn't have the easiest of draws, as he is set to play US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta in the opening round. Nadal holds a perfect 5-0 record against the countryman.
After a rough go at the US Open, Djokovic is ready to put the past behind him in Rome. The Serbian was defaulted in his round of 16 clash against Carreno Busta in New York for hitting a lineswoman with a ball.
"It was totally unexpected and very unintended as well of course, to hit her. But as I said, when you hit the ball like that as I hit it, you have a chance to hit somebody that is on the court and the rules are clear," Djokovic said in his pre-tournament presser on Monday.
The Italian wildcard upset Anastasija Sevastova, 6-2, 6-3, in just 65 minutes to record the third Top-50 victory of her career. The 24-year-old will next face Simona Halep for a spot in Rome's third round. Halep skipped the New York swing but won the crown on clay in Prague.
The Serbian was absolutely on fire on Monday against No. 16 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime. Krajinovic managed to give up only three points on his first serve to post a convincing 6-4, 7-5 score.
Nishikori missed out on the beginning of the season due to a right-elbow injury and was forced to miss the New York swing after testing positive for COVID-19. He won his opening round against Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 7-6 (3). It marks the world No. 35's first win of 2020.