Defending champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic got back to winning ways Tuesday at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia with a dominant victory to open their Rome campaign. The third seeds cruised past Lukasz Kubot and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6-3, 6-3, to earn their first victory since reaching the Belgrade final last month.
After early exits in Munich and Madrid, the Croatians started strongly in the Italian capital. They broke serve three times in the match and erased all four break points against them, winning 74 per cent (26/35) of their first-serve points with the help of seven aces. Grigor Dimitrov and Hubert Hurkacz await in the last 16.
Mektic and Pavic reached the Dubai final in February but are still seeking their first title of 2022. The Croatians won nine titles last season, their first as a team, including three at ATP Masters 1000 events (Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome). They also claimed the Wimbledon title and Tokyo Olympic gold.
In an all-Italian showdown between wild-card duos, Luca Nardi and Lorenzo Sonego downed Flavio Cobolli and Francesco Forti, 6-2, 6-7(7), 10-4. They will face eighth-seeded Germans Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, recent champions in Barcelona and Munich, in the last 16.
Another Match Tie-break saw the fourth-seeded duo of John Peers and Filip Polasek dismissed in the opening round, with Andrey Golubev and Maximo Gonzalez taking a 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 decision.