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Djokovic starts with Rome win, Sharapova snubbed

© AFP | Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Britain's Aljaz Bedene during their tennis match at the ATP Tennis Open tournament on May 16, 2017 at the Foro Italico in Rome

ROME (AFP) - 

Four-time champion Novak Djokovic overcame Britain's Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 on Tuesday for a place in the third round of the clay-court Rome Masters.

The world number two came through a tight opening set by dominating the tiebreaker before finishing off his victory amid a smattering of jeers from the crowd.

The Serb lost to Rafael Nadal in last week's Madrid semi-finals, but his quick start in the Italian capital was just the tonic for Djokovic, who has never failed to reach the last eight in Rome.

In a shock to Maria Sharapova, the French tennis federation refused to grant the five-time Grand Slam winner and twice Roland Garros champion a wild card to either the main draw or qualifying.

The snub means the 30-year-old will not be in Paris for the clay major, although she could earn a place in the Wimbledon main draw by reaching the semi-finals in Rome.

British fifth seed Johanna Konta reached the third round with a crushing 6-3, 6-0 win over Yulia Putintseva.

Australian Daria Gavrilova beat former finalist and 10th seed Madison Keys 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, while Dutch 15th seed Kiki Bertens put out Monica Niculescu of Romania 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.

© 2017 AFP