NADAL ON TRACK WITH OPENING WIN IN ROME

Rome, Italy

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal kicks off his Rome campaign with a comfortable victory.

Rafael Nadal is off to a strong start in his quest for an eighth title at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia

The Spaniard, currently ranked No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, dismantled top Turkish player Marsel Ilhan 6-2, 6-0 in 74 minutes on Wednesday to advance to the third round in Rome. The fourth seed won 92 per cent of his first serve points and saved both break points he faced in the match. 

Coming off his first clay-court loss to Andy Murray last week in Madrid, Nadal is attempting to reach the final at this event for the 10th time in 11 straight appearances. The Mallorca native's 15-4 record on clay in 2015 marks the first time he has lost more than three matches on the surface in a single season since his rookie campaign in 2003.

He will next face John Isner, whom he recently defeated in Monte-Carlo. Though Isner has yet to defeat Nadal in their five FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, the American has taken him to a deciding set three times. 

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