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Andreescu into Rome Masters 2nd round after Raducanu exits match with back injury

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu advanced to the second round of the Italian Open on a walkover Tuesday after rival Emma Raducanu retired due to a back injury.

Andreescu led the battle of recent U.S. Open champions 6-2, 2-1 when Raducanu, the 10th seed in Rome, was forced to withdraw.

Also Tuesday, men’s eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal advanced with a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 victory over Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and 13th seed Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., moved on with a 6-4, 7-6 (5) win over Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Raducanu’s struggles were evident early. Andreescu went up a break quickly and proceeded to convert three of her 11 breakpoint chances while winning 84 per cent of service points. Andreescu did not face a break point.

Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., will face Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second round. Andreescu won the only other meeting between the players in the quarter-final of last year’s Miami Open.

Andreescu won the U.S. Open in 2019. Britain’s Raducanu won in 2021, defeating Canada’s Leylah Fernandez in the final.

Shapovalov had a relatively routine win following his testy three-plus hour opener versus Italian favorite Lorenzo Sonego that saw him swear at the booing crowd after arguing with a line judge.

Shapovalov overcame five unforced errors and saved the only break point he faced in the win that took one hour 40 minutes to complete.

He broke Basilashvili once in the first set, then took a 5-1 lead in the second set tiebreaker after both players held serve.

Basilashvili came back and narrowed the gap to 6-5 on a Shapovalov double-fault, but the Canadian cashed in against serve on his first match-point chance. Shapovalov will next face the winner of a Wednesday match between Spanish legend Rafael Nadal and hard-serving American John Isner.

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