London: Spanish world No.1 Rafael Nadal has forced past a severe test by inspired Frenchman Gilles Simon in the second round of the Italian Open, pushing forward his bid to win the tournament for the eighth time.
Meanwhile, in the women’s tennis, top-seeded Serena Williams, third seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Russian ace Maria Sharapova also progressed to the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome
According to The Guardian, Nadal had to dig deep to get past Simon in the second round of the tournament and was taken to two tie-breaks before finally wearing down his opponent in the final set to win 7-6, 6-7, 6-2.
Nadal capitalised on the first signs of weakness from Simon in the final set to see out the victory and will meet Mikhail Youzhny in the third round on Thursday.
In the women’s draw, Williams made light work of Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, powering her way to a 6-2, 6-2 victory while Radwanska also had a straightforward day as she beat Argentinian Paula Ormaechea 6-3, 6-2.
Sharapova navigated a tougher test against Monica Puig 6-3, 7-5 to maintain her perfect form on clay in 2014, the report added.