Nadal, Federer reach Italian Open third round

Rome: Defending champion Rafael Nadal lost just one game as he crushed France’s Jeremy Chardy in straight sets to advance to the third round of the Italian Open on Thursday.
The eight-time Rome champion won 6-0, 6-1 and next meets Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, the 14th seed, later in the day for a place in the quarterfinals after rain delays wiped out play on Wednesday in the joint ATP and WTA tournament.
Meanwhile, world number three Roger Federer eased into the third round with a straight sets win over Portugal’s Joao Sousa.
Federer won through 6-4, 6-3 against the 72nd-ranked Sousa and will play Croatian 13th seed Borna Coric later in the day for a place in the quarterfinals after rain delays wiped out play on Wednesday.
Federer, a four-time finalist in Rome, returns to Italy after skipping the clay season for the last two years as he concentrated on his grass game.
In another match, Austrian Dominic Thiem, the world number four and last year’s French Open finalist, was dumped out in the second round by Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.
Thiem, the fifth seed, lost 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, in the final warm-up tournament before the French Open on May 26.
Verdasco will play Russian Karen Khachanov, the 13th seed, later on Thursday for a place in the quarterfinals.
Competitors are doubling up with two games during the day after play on Wednesday was wiped out because of rain.
Konta, Osaka win
Britain’s Johanna Konta set up a third round clash with Venus Williams after coming from a set down to beat American Sloane Stephens.
Konta, 27, won 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-1 against the seventh-seeded Stephens who reached the semifinals in Madrid last week.
Konta, ranked 42, next meets Williams, the 1999 Rome winner, who was handed a third round ticket after sister Serena pulled out before they were due to meet when her knee injury flared up.
Konta threw away a 4-0 lead in the first set, losing a tie-break, but regained the momentum in the following two to book her ticket to the third round for a fourth straight year after two and a half hours on court at the Foro Italico.
She plays former world number one Williams later on Thursday with competitors doubling up after play was wiped out on Wednesday because of unseasonal rain in Rome.
Williams leads Konta 4-3 in previous meetings which includes a victory for the American in Rome in the third round two years ago.
World number one Naomi Osaka eased into the third round of the WTA and ATP Italian Open on Thursday with a straight sets win over Dominika Cibulkova under the sunshine in Rome after the previous day’s play was washed out.
The 21-year-old Osaka was first up after wintery conditions in the Italian capital wiped out an entire day’s play with competitors now having to play two matches on Thursday.
The two-time Grand Slam winner won through 6-3, 6-3 in 1hr 42min for her fourth win in as many games against the 33rd-ranked Slovak who she also beat last week in Madrid.
The Japanese star fought back after losing her serve early in the first set, saving four break points in the second, hitting 44 winners and 12 aces, despite 25 unforced errors.
Osaka, who broke through by winning the US Open and Australian Open titles last year, reaches the third round in Rome for the first time in three appearances.
But she needs to make the quarterfinals at least if she wants to hold her world number one ranking.