ROME (AP) — Grigor Dimitrov overcame a slow start and sweaty hands to beat 45th-ranked Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Italian Open on Monday.
The 14th-ranked Dimitrov, a Bulgarian who at 22 is the youngest player in the top 20, did not take well to the red-and-white towels at the Foro Italico.
"They're new and they don't absorb any sweat," he said. "Three or four times I was about to lose my racket. I asked several times (for all-white towels) but they told me, 'We don't have it.'"
Dimitrov will next face big-serving Ivo Karlovic, who beat Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno Busta 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4).
In an upset, 13th-seeded Fabio Fognini, the top Italian hope, was handily beaten by 56th-ranked Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2.
Also, 11th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga saved two set points in the second set before eliminating Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-3, 7-6 (5).
In women's play, Sam Stosur beat Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 6-3; 11th-seeded Ana Ivanovic defeated Italian wild-card entry Karin Knapp 6-1, 6-1; 12th-seeded Flavia Pennetta got past Yvonne Meusburger of Austria, 6-2, 6-3; and 16th-seeded American Sloane Stephens rallied past Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Also, 1999 champion Venus Williams cruised past Annika Beck of Germany 6-3, 6-1; and local favorite Francesca Schiavone of Italy eliminated 17th-seeded Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 6-2.
Continue reading this story on the...