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Elina Svitolina gets the defence of her Internazionali BNL d’Italia title underway with an intriguing clash against Victoria Azarenka on Tuesday evening.
Both players are no strangers to success at the Foro Italico, the Ukrainian having lifted the trophy here in 2017 and 2018 while her opponent reached the final in 2013 and the semi-finals 10 years ago. Azarenka holds the advantage in their head-to-head record, leading 2-0, but the pair hasn’t played since 2015 or met before on clay. With Svitolina’s form uncertain due to a struggle with a knee injury and Azarenka rediscovering her best tennis it should be an enticing encounter.
The 2017 champion and last year’s finalist Alexander Zverev will also get his campaign started on Tuesday when he faces Italian wildcard Matteo Berrettini, who knocked Lucas Pouille out on Sunday, in the third match on Court Centrale.
Stan Wawrinka faces a tough opener against David Goffin before No. 9 seed Marin Cilic takes on world No. 416 Andrea Basso, who was awarded a wildcard into the main draw as a result of winning the Italian pre-qualifying event, on Grandstand. The 25-year-old lefthander from Genova will be making his debut on the ATP Tour.
Ashleigh Barty and 2018 quarter-finalist Caroline Wozniacki will begin get their quests for glory at the Italian Open against Viktoria Kozmova and Danielle Collins respectively. No. 8 seed Barty, who triumphed at the Miami Open, is looking for her first main draw victory in the Italian capital.