Roger Federer repeated his May 3 victory over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas in Istanbul, defeating the South American 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to reach the third round at the Rome Masters.


Federer, seeded second, on Wednesday spent 80 minutes getting past a tough opponent who gave him a hard time in their Turiksh final.

Seven-time winner Rafael Nadal began his clay-court recovery process after his weekend Madrid finals loss, hammering out a 6-2 6-0 defeat of Turk Marsel Ilhan.

The Spaniard, who is defending his title and trying to get his game back to its brilliant best after failing to win a spring European clay title so far, spent little more than an hour in reaching the third round at the Foro Italico.

Nadal is reeling from his Madrid thrashing by Andy Murray, who advanced in his Rome opening match over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-3.

Nadal, despite his poor season, starts mentally fresh each week as he and his team try to polish his game with Roland Garros starting on May 24.

“I’m happy playing tennis, even if I’ve not been very consistent since the start of season,” he said.

“Playing a Masters 1000 final (Madrid) is not a bad result for me.

“I’m not winning as much as I once did, but my life and career have been fantastic. Last year I won Roland Garros (for a record ninth time) but I’m not thinking about that today.”

Murray, the third seed, has now won 10 straight clay matches thanks to his titles in Munich and Madrid, the first two of his career on clay.

“My legs were a bit tired at the start but they started to feel better after a few games,” said Murray of his win over Chardy.

“I played a good match.

“I hung in, moved well and didn’t give him loads of opportunities. I served well throughout the match. I’m happy with how I adjusted to conditions, I made it difficult for him to win free points.”

Fifth seed Kei Nishikori advanced as he easily dispatched Czech Jiri Vesely 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

Austrian Dominic Thiem won as French 12th seed Gilles Simon quit with a neck injury trailing 7-6 (7-5) 2-0.

American 16th seed John Isner piled on 11 aces in a 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 defeat of Leonardo Mayer.