“It was a very strange match,â€ said Djokovic of his 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Juan Monaco. â€œIt was difficult to play with that wind. But the conditions were the same for both us, he just handled it better at the start. I was playing far too defensively and passively and he was controlling everything. He was the better player for a set and a half.”
After missing two straight backhands in the first set, Djokovic slammed his racquet on the court twice, for which the Chair umpire gave him a warning.
“It’s not the first time and I don’t think it will be the last time,â€ said the Serb. â€œI’m a player with a lot of emotion. I hope kids didn’t see it. But then it changed the match, â€¦ the momentum swung to my side.”
Where Djokovic was challenged, Nadal was not. The Spaniard destroyed countryman Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-1.
â€œI start the match bad with two double faults with my serve,” Nadal said, â€œbut after the first two or three games then started to play well, good forehand and control of the point and going to net conditions were difficult and windy but I think I found rhythm and after third game. I played very solid.”
â€œI started clay well in Monte Carlo and Barcelona without losing a set and itâ€™s great to win two tournaments â€“ without losing a set and you have to be playing well to do that and then I played bad in Madrid and so I am here on clay and I am solid and well and I played a good match yesterday and today.
â€œI always say I go week by week and I always say I arrive to Roland Garros at my best and don’t take this tournament to prepare me for the rest â€¦ I take this tournaments like a very important tournament each one and I try my best in every match to have the best I can. Roland Garros is in two weeks and I am now here in Rome and that is the most important thing for me and last week I was in Madrid where the conditions didn’t help.â€
On Friday Nadal will battle TomasÂ Berdych for a place in the semifinals. â€œHe’s a great player and I think that he has win tournaments on clay,â€ Nadal said. He played in semi-finals on clay in Monte Carlo against me and he had fantastic results in Monte Carlo and Madrid and so his level is fantastic on clay and hard and grass and he is a complete player and so tomorrow will be a difficult match for me and so if I play my best it will be possible.â€