This content was published 5 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.
Elina Svitolina, Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova all progressed to the next round on a rain-interrupted day at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Tuesday.
Svitolina got the defence of her title off to a successful start, easing past Petra Martic for the loss of just three games on Court Centrale.
The Ukrainian No. 4 seed was just too good for her opponent, hitting 24 winners and just nine unforced errors to send the world No. 36 packing in 61 minutes. The Croat, who has enjoyed some notable results on the WTA Tour this year in reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and the quarterfinals in Indian Wells, had no answers to Svitolina’s impressive form, falling to a 61 62 defeat.
“I was expecting a really tough match. I knew the game style that she’s presenting. And, yeah, just was just trying to work from the beginning and work really hard with my legs. And, you know, yeah, of course, enjoying playing as defending champion. Not every day happens,” said Svitolina.
Kerber defeated lucky loser Zarina Diyas 6-2 7-6(6) in her first match since retiring with a thigh injury in Stuttgart last month. The German showed no ill-effects from her three weeks on the sidelines, breaking twice in the opening set to take an early lead and then coming up with the goods in the key moments of the second set to secure victory.
The world No. 12 came under more pressure in the second set as her Kazakhstani opponent, who is ranked 42 places below her, raised her level and subsequently reduced her unforced error count. Kerber saved a set point at 5-6 and then prevailed in a topsy turvy tiebreak to book a spot in the next round against Irina-Camelia Begu.
Sharapova needed two and a half hours to find a way past No. 16 seed Ashleigh Barty. The three-time Rome champion eventually prevailing 7-5 3-6 6-2 in heavy conditions on Next Gen Arena in her first meeting with the Australian.
“Yeah, tough, tough conditions. Long wait. Kind of felt like I played three different matches within the match because of the way the court played, the way she played, the shadows, the little bit of a breeze out there. So, a lot going on,” said the world No. 40.
“I think it was a really good way to end the match, to get that win. You know, to take care of those break points when it mattered. To save the break points on my serve. Just felt like there were a lot of positives at the end of that match.”
Next up for the Russian will be Dominika Cibulkova, who knocked Italy’s Francesca Schiavone out of the tournament on Monday.
Wild card Sara Errani exited the Foro Italico at the first round stage much to the disappointment of the fans when she was defeated by Timea Babos 6-3 7-6(6). The Hungarian had too much pace for the world No. 72, a former Roland Garros finalist, and will now play No. 7 seed Caroline Garcia.
There was also defeat for Kiki Bertens, who couldn’t back up last week’s impressive run to the final at the Madrid Open, falling to Maria Sakkari 62 46 63.
Reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko got her quest for a first Rome title underway with a comprehensive 62 75 victory over Zhang Shuai in a delayed start to the night session. The Latvian showed signs of the kind of form which took her to a maiden major title last year as she overpowered her opponent in 70 minutes.