Federer, Djokovic, Murray advance in Rome

The top three seeds at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia all booked their places in the third round of the draw with straight sets victories on Wednesday.

Third seed Roger Federer was in action in the first match of the day, his first competitive outing since a quarter-final defeat to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Monte Carlo.

Having received a bye into the second round, the Swiss ace opened his Rome account with a solid 6-3, 7-5 victory over Alexander Zverev.

Federer broke for a 4-2 lead and then stayed solid on serve to close out the first set.

The second set saw Federer claim an early break for a 2-1 lead, only for Zverev to gain the break back immediately.

Federer continued to create opportunities for himself, however, and after racing to a 0-40 lead with Zverev serving at 5-5, he clinched the break before closing out the match.

He now moves on to face 13th seed Dominic Thiem, who was a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Joao Sousa.

Top-seeded Djokovic, meanwhile, was given a surprisingly stern test by qualifier Stephane Robert.

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Patience was the name of the game for the Serb, who had to bide his time in the first set before snatching a late break point to seize the advantage.

Impressively, Robert then broke Djokovic early in the second set, but the Frenchman would relinquish his serve in games eight and 12 as Djokovic completed a 7-5, 7-5 victory.

The World No 1 moves on to face Thomaz Bellucci, who defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-3.

Also advancing in the afternoon was second seed Andy Murray, who needed just 85 minutes to complete a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Mikhail Kukushkin.

The Scot notched up his fourth win over the Russian in four meetings and moves on to face Roberto Bautista-Agut or Jeremy Chardy.

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