Quintet of qualifiers advance

Qualifiers Arantxa Rus, Irina-Camelia Begu, Federico Coria, Pedro Martinez and Dominik Koepfer recorded impressive victories to progress to the second round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Tuesday.

Rus narrowly defeated 19-year-old Iga Swiatek, who reached the fourth round at 2019 Roland Garros, 7-6(5) 6-3 in a topsy turvy match which saw 11 breaks of serve, while Begu dropped just four games as she cruised past Italian wildcard Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-2 6-2.

No.12 seed Marketa Vondrousova, the 2019 Roland Garros finalist, came through a close three-set encounter against qualifier Misaki Doi and will await Rus in the next round. Begu’s second round opponent will be No.7 seed Johanna Konta, who finished runner-up at the Foro Italico last year.

Coria, the younger brother of former Roland Garros finalist Guillermo, needed 89 minutes to find a way past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1 7-6(5). He will face home favourite and No.4 seed Marco Berrettini in the next round.

Koepfer battled back from a set and a break down to oust Alex De Minaur 3-6 6-3 7-6(6) and set up a second round clash against Gael Monfils.

The German struggled to find his form in the early stages of his first Masters-1000 event but he got himself on track when his back was against the wall, reeling off seven straight games from 6-3 3-0 down to level the match and edge ahead in the decider. The Australian secured an early break for 2-1 and held match point at 6-5 but was unable to serve it out. Koepfer held his nerve in the tiebreak, playing some aggressive tennis to clinch a hard-fought victory.

Martinez overcame Sam Querrey 6-3 7-6(3) to book himself a date with Denis Shapovalov who eased past Guido Pella 6-2 6-3 on Court Centrale.

Australia’s John Millman emerged victorious from a closely-fought match against lucky loser Joao Sousa 7-5 7-6(2) to set up a second round clash against No.8 seed Diego Scwartzman.