IBI23: the WTA draw is out and promises great matches

The main draw of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia 2023 WTA 1000 has been sorted and plenty of great matches are set from the earlier rounds.

The main draw of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia 2023 WTA 1000 has been sorted and plenty of great matches are set from the earlier rounds.

The main draw ceremony of the WTA 1000 Internazionali BNL d’Italia took place on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the amazing Parco del Colle Oppio, overlooking the most iconic landmark of Rome, the Colosseum.

Leading the field, world number 1 and defending champion Iga Swiatek is coming to Rome following two finals on red clay, both played against the number 2 in the rankings Aryna Sabalenka. The two have split the two trophies and will want to play a third consecutive final at the end of the Roman fortnight.

Just like all other seeds in the draw, the world’s best players received a bye in the first round and will have to wait a couple days before knowing the names of their first opponents. However, if we look at the projected quarter-finals, this is would be the line up:

(1) Swiatek – (7) Rybakina

(4) Jabeur – (8) Kasatkina

(6) Gauff – (3) Pegula

(5) Garcia – (2) Sabalenka

Thus said, the path towards the later stages is never easy, though for some it might be harder than expected. This is the case of 2022 runner-up Ons Jabeur, who might face former world number 2 Paula Badosa as early as in the second round, or Vika Azarenka who sees Sloane Stephens as her most likely rival in the second round. The Roland Garros 2018 runner-up comes to Rome on a positive streak after the WTA 125 success in Saint Malo but will have to take down clay-specialist Nadia Podoroska first.

Roma 12 maggio 2022 Internazionali BNL d’Italia 2022 Aryna Sabalenka e Jessica PegulaFoto Adelchi Fioriti

A few tricky obstacles are laid between Coco Gauff and an all-American quarter-final with Jessica Pegula in Rome: the third seed is sure of playing her first match against a qualifier, but then she might face hot-form Irina Camelia Begu. Gauff, instead, might be opposed to always-tricky Yulia Putintseva in her opening round, with Madrid’s semi-finalist Veronika Kudermetova set as her opponent two matches later.

Italy’s number one and 18th seed Martina Trevisan landed in the second quarter and might open her Roman campaign against talented Karolina Muchova, if the Czech goes past the qualifier that the draw will assign her in the coming days. Several home players have been given the same spot in the draw, including Camila Giorgi, who will start her IBI23 against a qualifier, hoping for a second round against Ekaterina Alexandrova. Debuting Lisa Pigato and Diletta Cherubini will face off for a chance in the second round against 8th seed Daria Kasatkina.

The road between Iga Swiatek and a third title in Rome will start with either Sara Errani or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, with a third-round opponent coming out of a packed spot featuring Bernarda Pera and returning-from-maternity Elina Svitolina.

On the opposite side of the draw, Sabalenka might be making her Roman debut against former Grand Slam champion Sofia Kenin, with Anhelina Kalinina as the first seed on her path. The Ukrainian, however, will not have an easy task to get past her opening match, especially if Madrid’s sensation Mayar Sherif carries her momentum to Rome.

Among the numerous high-quality matches that have been drawn as a first round, surely the one between Marketa Vondrousova and Kaia Kanepi stands out. The two crafty, yet powerful players will be facing off for a chance against Bianca Andreescu in the second round. The Romanian, who only came back from another nasty injury in Madrid, might have hoped for a kinder debut.

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