Irina-Camelia Begu

Fognini fires up Italian Open crowd with win over Thiem

Fabio Fognini got the Italian Open crowd fired up with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win over sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem to reach the third round Wednesday.

Italy's top player came out wearing a black shirt with a red lightning bolt design down his chest and he was energized from the start, grazing the flower beds lining the court to return Thiem's high-bouncing topspin serves and frustrating the Austrian with well-placed lobs and touch volleys.

"I played very well today," said Thiem, who beat Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Open semifinals last week. "It was just him, he was very pumped playing at home."

Nadal, a seven-time Rome champion, and four-time champion ...