Novak Djokovic beats Aljaz Bedene in Italian Open

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ROME (AP) - Rafael Nadal's preparations for the French Open continued apace as he swept past 13th-seeded Jack Sock 6-3, 6-4 Thursday to ease into the Italian Open quarterfinals and extend his winning streak to 17 matches.

Djokovic got past Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic faced Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters yesterday after the unseeded Argentinian's 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 win over Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori.

"I love this tournament, and I love Rome", Williams said.

"Mentally I felt better and better as time went by".

The 27-year-old started the match in positive fashion with a break in the opening game but handed that advantage straight back in the next before the pair shared the following 10 games to take the set into a tie-break.

The biggest casualty of the day was US Open champion Wawrinka, American Isner surprising the world number three with a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 victory.

But French Open champion Djokovic said: "I m getting closer, I feel like today s match was one of the better ones I ve played on clay this season, and in the past couple of months".

In a shock to Maria Sharapova, the French tennis federation refused to grant the five-time Grand Slam victor and twice Roland Garros champion a wild card to either the main draw or qualifying.

If one looks at the head-to-head record, Djokovic has been mighty impressive, winning 13 matches and only losing four. "But it's obvious that I am playing well and I should be very happy with the way that I am doing things".

Men: Second round: David Goffin bt Fernando Verdasco 3-6, 6-3, 6-2; Tomas Berdych bt Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-4; John Isner bt Mayer 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4); Novak Djokovic bt Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (2), 6-2.

Thiem saved three match points in beating Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (9/7).

In the women's draw, Venus Williams beat Johanna Konta 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

Alexander Zverev also advanced to his third ATP 1000 quarterfinal of the season defeating crowd favourite Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3, two days after the Italian had beaten Andy Murray.

Zverev, the 16th seed who is the youngest player in the ATP top 50, will meet the victor of the clash between Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic, to be played later Thursday.

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