Juan Martin del Potro overcomes Kyle Edmund in Rome
British number two Kyle Edmund followed world number one Andy Murray out of the Italian Open after a straight-sets defeat against Juan Martin del Potro in Rome.
The 22-year-old produced a brave battle against the world number 34, breaking back to level the opening set at 5-5.
However, the experienced Argentinian, US Open champion in 2009, kept the pressure on by immediately forcing another break and then served out to take the first set 7-5.
Edmund's serve continued to be tested in the second set, where the Briton was involved in an heated exchange with the chair umpire over a disputed line call during a tense fifth game, which Del Potro went on to win before moving 5-2 ahead.
Although Edmund, ranked 53 in the world, rallied to break and then hold to reduce the deficit to 4-5, it was only delaying the inevitable as Del Potro, who had defeated world number 11 Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, closed in on victory.
Del Potro, who helped Argentina win the 2016 Davis Cup, spurned two match points before a net return from Edmund saw him progress 7-5 6-4 in one hour and 46 minutes, safely through to the last 16 where he will face Kei Nishikori of Japan, who is seeded seventh.
Rafael Nadal progressed when his second-round opponent Nicolas Almagro retired after sustaining a knee injury early in the first set.
Rafael Nadal of Spain (L) talks with Nicolas Almagro of Spain forced to abandoned after an injury during their match at the ATP Tennis Open tournament on May 17, 2017 at the Foro Italico in Rome. / AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANGetty Images
Nadal, who is the clear tournament favourite and looks to be back to his best form on clay this season, raced into a 3-0 lead before Spanish compatriot Almagro felt his left knee with less than half an hour played.
Nadal is seeded fourth in Rome, where he is bidding for a record eighth title to go with his recent successes in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, and will meet either American Jack Sock in the next round after he beat Jiri Vesely.
Third seed Stan Wawrinka avenged his defeat by unpredictable Frenchman Benoit Paire in Madrid last week when the 2015 French Open champion won a topsy-turvy match 6-3 1-6 6-3.
Austrian dark horse Dominic Thiem, runner-up to Nadal in Madrid, beat Pablo Cuevas 7-6(4) 6-4 to line up a last-16 clash against big-serving American Sam Querrey.
Results from the Italian Open Men's Singles Round 2 matches on Wednesday
- Sam Querrey (U.S.) beat Jan-Lennard Struff (Germany) 6-4 6-3
- 3-Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) beat Benoit Paire (France) 6-3 1-6 6-3
- Roberto Bautista (Spain) beat 15-Pablo Carreno (Spain) 6-7(6) 6-1 6-4
- 8-Dominic Thiem (Austria) beat Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay) 7-6(4) 6-4
- 13-Jack Sock (U.S.) beat Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic) 6-4 3-6 7-6(1)
- 5-Milos Raonic (Canada) beat Tommy Haas (Germany) 6-4 6-3
- 16-Alexander Zverev (Germany) beat Viktor Troicki (Serbia) 6-3 6-4
- Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina) beat Kyle Edmund (Britain) 7-5 6-4
- 4-Rafa Nadal (Spain) beat Nicolas Almagro (Spain) 3-0 (Almagro retired)
- 7-Kei Nishikori (Japan) beat David Ferrer (Spain) 7-5 6-2