It was a very Czech day here in Rome during an extraordinary Sunday of tennis at the Foro Italico. Karolina Muchova and Marketa Vondrousova both booked a ticket to the 4th round thanks to great victories against Camila Giorgi and Maria Sakkari, respectively. Later on, another Czech, Marie Bouzkova, upset Coco Gauff to join the compatriots. Defending champion Iga Swiatek kept impressing with 12 consecutive games to beat Lesia Tsurenko.
Muchova, who had already broken the dreams of the local crowd defeating Martina Trevisan in the previous round, did it again against the last Italian female player in the draw. On the Campo Centrale, the Czech came back from two breaks behind in the first set against Giorgi. The Italian, who had started the match looking focused and playing accurate, crumbled after failing to convert 7 set points in 3 consecutive games. Muchova closed the gap that saw her down 5-1 and after winning the tiebreak she did not let the Italian back in the game.
After a one-way-traffic second set, the world number 52 closed the match 7-6(4) 6-2 and will now wait for the name of her opponent, coming out of the match between Marta Kostyuk and Paula Badosa.
A rock-solid performance gave the victory also to Marketa Vondrousova. The lefty started strong against Marita Sakkari on a packed Pietrangeli, but the Greek fought back to impact on 5-5 after saving two set points on her serve. However, the patient and crafty tennis of the Czech destabilized Sakkari, who ended up being too erratic in the attempt of finding a continuous aggression. A few too many errors from the world number 8 surrendered another break to Vondrousova, who did not fail to close the set on her second attempt on serve.
The second set saw a similar situation, with Sakkari trying to dictate the points, but often ending up missing the final shot, while Vondrousova unwearyingly worked the points around, waiting and often creating the chance for shorter balls to attack or transform in deadly dropshots. The Czech took a break advantage early in the set and looked in control, closing the match with a 7-5 6-3 victory, the third against a top 10 player in Rome.
Another upset happened later in the day as Marie Bouzkova overturned the bets and a set to defeat Coco Gauff. The match was supposed to open the evening session on Campo Centrale yesterday, but rain forced it to be played today. On Court 12, the Czech felt inspired and captured the best win of her season. The solid game of Bouzkova put off the American, who started to be more erratic after the first set. 4-6 6-2 6-2 the final score.
All easy for Iga Swiatek against Lesia Tsurenko after a faulty start: the Ukrainian won the first two games, but the world number one immediately switched to a higher gear and left with no answers her opponent. After leaving no games to her round 2 opponent – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova -, Swiatek won again 12 games in a row to close 6-2 6-0.
Quite the opposite situation for 8th seed Daria Kasatkina, who needed grinding for 3.18 hours against Austria’s claycourter Julia Grabher. The Austrian played a superb match by exploiting the heavy topspin on her forehand to keep close to her higher-ranked opponent. Eventually, the experience and perseverance of Kasatkina paid off as she closed the match 7-5 4-6 7-6(2).