Tuesday was a day of upsets at the 2021 Italian Open, but top-seeded Novak Djokovic advanced and set himself up as the clear favorite in the French Open tuneup event.
Djokovic earned a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over Taylor Fritz in his round of 32 matchup, having no trouble on a day when seeded players were dropping like flies on the men's side.
2021 Italian Open Tuesday Results
(1) Novak Djokovic def. Taylor Fritz 6-3, 7-6 (5)
Felix Auger Aliassime def. (8) Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-3
(9) Matteo Berrettini def. Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
(10) Roberto Bautista Agut def. Tommy Paul 6-3, 6-4
Kei Nishikori def. Pablo Carreno Busta walkover
(13) Denis Shapovalov def. Kamil Majchrzak 6-1, 6-3
Lorenzo Sonego def. (14) Gael Monfils 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina def. (16) Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 7-6 (2)
(12) Garbine Muguruza def. Patricia Maria Țig 6-1, 6-2
Kristina Mladenovic def. Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-4
Veronika Kudermetova def. (14) Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Jelena Ostapenko def. (16) Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-1
The world No. 1 again found himself at odds with an umpire, throwing a tantrum in the official's direction while asking for play to be delayed due to rain.
Djokovic walked off the court in frustration, and the match was then briefly delayed because of weather. The Serb has seen increasing attention drawn to his interactions with officials since being disqualified from the 2020 U.S. Open for striking a line judge with a ball. While he apologized at the time, Djokovic shattered a racquet and damaged the court at the 2021 Australian Open in another outburst.
While Djokovic kept his composure enough to win in Melbourne, it's nevertheless something worth monitoring heading into the year's second Grand Slam.
He and Rafael Nadal should have a relatively breezy run to the Italian finals after eighth-seeded Diego Schwartzman, 14th-seeded Gael Monfils, 16th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov were all upset, in addition to 11th-seeded Pablo Carreno-Busta withdrawing from the event.
On the women's side of the bracket, things were much quieter—if only because fewer seeded players were in action. No. 10 Belinda Bencic, No. 14 Elise Mertens and No. 16 Johanna Konta were knocked out in round of 64 action, while No. 12 seed Garbine Muguruza advanced, beating Patricia Maria Tig 6-1, 6-2.
"It was a weird day," Muguruza told reporters after her original opponent, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, withdrew because of an abdominal issue. "I woke up [and the weather was] sunny, had an opponent. Then it turned out I had another opponent and it was raining the whole match. We had a little bit of everything!
"But, Rome, it's such a familiar tournament. I played here so many times, I've had nice matches. I love this clay, the red clay. It's familiar to me. I'm just looking forward to getting as many matches as possible."
In a three-set battle of Americans, Madison Keys got the best of Sloane Stephens in a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 nail-biter.