Monday was a full day for female tennis enthusiasts as all 4th round matches were scheduled at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. With a draw that lost some of the top seeds, especially in the bottom half, many players fought for career best results and a chance for a deep run in Rome.
The first player to do so was Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina who upset 19th seed Madison Keys 2-6 6-2 6-4. The first set did not seem to forecast the success of Kalinina, as for a little more than 30 minutes it was a one-woman show from Keys. The American looked perfectly in control and her powerful game was producing winners and winners. The Ukrainian, however, strong of two victories in their previous encounters, had no intention of giving up. Her solid game and accurate use of the angles started tiring the US player, who started the second set getting broken.
What looked like a small blip in Key’s march towards the victory, turned out to be a blackout. The clean winners that sealed the first set suddenly transformed in errors and Kalinina, as it is often the case in such situations, started playing better.
The third set started just like the previous one, but from a break up, the Ukrainian started feeling the weight of the moment and let her opponent back in. However, the quality of Key’s tennis remained too erratic and following flashing winners there often were several mistakes, so Kalinina got herself in front again, serving for the match. Despite shacky hands, the Ukrainian found the right composure to close it up at the 3rd chance. With this success, the world number 47 reached her second ever quarter in WTA Masters 1000, where she will face Beatriz Haddad Maia, who sailed past an all-south-American match against Camila Osorio 6-3 6-3.
A second career WTA Masters 1000 was also reached by Qinwen Zheng, who came out on top of a Chinese derby against Xiyu Wang. On a packed Pietrangeli, the two battled for 2.30 hours. Zheng closed it 6-4 3-6 6-1 but the score does not reflect the battle that even the third set was with numerous games ending after several advantage. Standing between the Chinese and a maiden semifinal in Rome there will be Veronika Kudermetova, who played a solid yet aggressive tennis to get past Marie Bouzkova with a double 6-2.
Elena Rybakina advanced to her first clay court WTA Masters 1000 quarterfinal following a sensational win against Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 6-3. The Kazakh produced an almost flowless match against a hot-form player who had defeated her in the past and knows how to play on the surface. The powerful groundstrokes and serve of the 7th seed proved too much for the Czech who was often left with defense as her only option, becoming unable to produce the brilliant and various tennis she showed during the week.
Another Grand Slam winner advanced on the day as Jelena Ostapenko came out of another rollercoaster match against Daria Kasatkina. The Latvian engaged a series of arguments with the umpire over some calls but she did not let it get to her head and kept executing her hyper-aggressive tennis. Kasatkina manage to keep close and actually won the second set by mixing the rhythm a lot, but the third set was a solo from Ostapenko: 6-4 4-6 6-0 the final score.