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Djokovic through to Italian Open third round
Top seed Halep eases past Paolini of Italy.
Novak Djokovic got off to a winning start at the Italian Open on Wednesday, advancing to the third round of the clay-court tournament in his first match since his US Open disqualification earlier this month.
The world number one, the recipient of a first round bye in Rome, eased past Italian wild card entry Salvatore Caruso 6-3, 6-2 at the Foro Italico.
Four-time Rome winner Djokovic will next play either fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic or Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato for a place in the quarterfinals.
Djokovic was unbeaten in 2020 before his dramatic last 16 default in New York on September 6 after he accidently struck a line judge with a ball hit in frustration.
Nine-time Rome winner Rafael Nadal will make his return to competition later on Wednesday after a six-month hiatus linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
The number two seed plays fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno, a recent semi-finalist of the US Open, for a place in the third round.
Sixth seeded Belgian David Goffin lost his second round match 6-2, 6-2 to Croatia's Marin Cilic in the final tune-up for the French Open in Roland Garros from September 27.
In the women's event, top seed Simona Halep eased into the Italian Open third round on Wednesday with a straight sets win over Jasmine Paolini of Italy.
World number two Halep came through 6-3, 6-4 against the 99th-ranked home hope on clay in Rome's Foro Italico.
The 28-year-old Romanian, who skipped the US Open because of the coronavirus pandemic, next meets either American Amanda Anisimova or Dayana Yastremska of the Ukraine.
Former French Open winner Halep has twice finished runner-up in Rome, losing in 2017 and 2018 to Ukraine's Elina Svitolina.
Swiss sixth seed Belinda Bencic fell 6-3, 6-1 in her second round match to Montenegro's 86th ranked Danka Kovinic.
Belgian Elise Mertens, the 11th seed, saw off Poland's Pole Magda Linette 6-2, 6-4 in the final warm-up tournament before the French Open.
Third day of the ATP and WTA claycourt tournament in Rome on Wednesday (x denotes seed):
Men (2nd rd):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-3, 6-2
Matteo Berrettini (ITA x4) bt Federico Coria (ARG) 7-5, 6-1
Marin Cilic (CRO) bt David Goffin (BEL x6) 6-2, 6-2
Simona Halep (ROM x1) bt Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 6-3, 6-4
Danka Kovinic (MNE) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI x6) 6-3, 6-1
Elise Mertens (BEL x11) bt Magda Linette (POL) 6-2, 6-4
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