ROME – Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal, world No. 4, reached the third round of the Rome Masters after the retirement of compatriot Nicolas Almagro on Wednesday.
Almagro was trailing 0-3 to Nadal, a record seven-time champion, when he decided to withdraw due to a left knee injury.
The 30-year-old Nadal is set to play the next round against the winner of the duel between American Jack Sock and Czech Jiri Vesely.
This was the first appearance of the former world number one after winning his fifth Madrid Open crown last week, following his tenth Monte Carlo and Barcelona Open titles, also a record.
Nadal is hoping that his spark continues in the Rome Masters, the last big tournament before Roland Garros, where he has won a record nine times and is the only Grand Slam event held on clay courts.