Smooth start for the defending champion and the Greek at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Jabeur stunned by Badosa
Following a day of major upsets at the Foro Italico, thoughts must have been in the heads of the big seeds hitting the court today at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. If world number 1 and defending champion Iga Swiatek had any, she did not show, as on the Campo Centrale she left no possibilities to her opponent Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Swiatek dominated the game on every aspect, from serve to return, closing in as little as 1.08 and dropping no game to her opponent. With this rapid 6-0 6-0, the Pole is now waiting to know the name of her opponent in the third round as Bernarda Pera and Lesia Tsurenko will face each other later in the day.
Maria Sakkari, 8th seed and 2019 semifinalist, also made a strong statement about her form in the opening match on iconic Stadio Pietrangeli. The Greek’s arm only trembled near the end of the match against Barbora Strycova – who only recently returned to tennis following the birth of her first child. 6-1 6-3 the final score for Sakkari.
Easy win also for Liudmila Samsonova against Anett Kontaveit. In a match of big hitters, the 16th seed proved to be more solid than the former world number 2, who is still struggling to find her shape following the physical problems of the past year.
It was meant to be a tough opening round for last year’s finalist Ons Jabeur, who was returning this week from a calf injury suffered in Stuttgart and the draw had put Paula Badosa on her way. The Spaniard, who had survived a late night scare in the first round against Ana Lena Friedsam, showed a much improved form and exploited the lack of match play and uncertainty in the movements of the 4th seed. The first set was one-way traffic for Badosa, but Jabeur was not to leave without giving a fight.
The second set saw a much tighter level and the two exchanged breaks in multiple chances, until the 10th game, when the Spaniard served to close the match, doing it in style: a stunning winner sealed the match in her favour 6-1 6-4.