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Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova survived testing second round encounters to advance to the third round of the 2012 Internazionali BNL D'Italia in Rome on Tuesdat. With this being the last Premier tournament before the action shifts to the French Open in Paris, both ladies, considered among the favourites for the crown, would want a strong run in this tournament and came through a couple of tough matches today, beating Christina McHale and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova respectively. In addition to the two Grand Slam winners, three-time winner on tour this year, Sara Errani and veteran Venus Williams also made it through to the second round while Jelena Jankovic and Sabine Lisicki suffered surprise first-round defeats.
Sharapova, the defending champion and champion in Stuttgart a couple of weeks ago, faced a tough second round opponent in the youngster Christina McHale and found herself facing the heat in the first set at 1-4 down. The tenacious Russian though fought hard and, despite finding herself trailing in the second set as well, managed to record a straight sets 7-5, 7-5 win in 2 hours and 12 minutes to advance to a likely meeting against 13th seed Ana Ivanovic.
Kvitova, on the other hand, who had suffered an early exit on the blue courts of Madrid last week, admitted she was nervous going into her match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, an opponent against whom she had lost her last encounter. While all four of their previous meetings had gone to three sets, the Czech World No.4 made sure there was no repeat this time around as she, like Sharapova, came back from a break down in both sets to win 7-5, 6-4 and book her place in the next round.
On what was a good day for the Italians, 3 of the local players in action advanced to the second round with Sara Errani, Flavia Pennetta and the wildcard Karin Knapp recording wins in their respective matches. Errani was leading her opponent Timea Bacsinsky 6-0, 3-0 before the Swiss player retired while Pennetta beat Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 7-6(2). In what was perhaps the upset of the day, World No.112 Karin Knapp got the better of Roberta Vinci in an all-Italian affair, winning with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 scoreline.
American veteran and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams made a winning start too as she beat Simona Halep of Romania 6-3, 6-4. There was disappointment once again for Jelena Jankovic as she suffered yet another early exit, this time at the hands of Sorana Cirstea while 11th seed Sabine Lisicki suffered a surprising loss to Kiwi Marina Erakovic.
In the final match of the day, recently crowned Madrid champion Serena Williams, fresh from branding the top menâ€™s players â€˜weeniesâ€™ for complaining about the blue clay on which she dominated, came back from a break down in the second set to win against Galina Voskoboeva, 6-2, 6-3 to record her 14thstraight win on clay this year. The younger Williams sister will now lock horns with an old adversary in Nadia Petrova in the second round.
Williams v Petrova is just one of the matches on an intriguing day of womenâ€™s tennis to look forward to at the Italian Open on Wednesday. World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka takes on Israeli Shahar Peer, while, in arguably the tie of the day, Samantha Stosur will play three-time winner on tour this year, Sara Errani. Erraniâ€™s three tournament winning run on clay was brought to a screeching halt by Agnieszka Radwanska in Madrid last week and she will be keen to prove her critics wrong as she has another shot at a Top 10 player. Other notable matches include Marion Bartoli vs Julia Goerges while Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki will also be in action, the former taking on Iveta Benesova while the latter plays Anabel Medina Garrigues.
Singles - Second Round
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Christina McHale (USA) 75 75
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 75 64
Singles - First Round
Marina Erakovic (NZL) d. (11) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 76(4) 46 63
(14) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (Q) Mirjana Lucic (CRO) 61 62
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (15) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 63 46 76(4)
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (16) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 61 76(2)
Sara Errani (ITA) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 60 30 ret. (injury)
Petra Cetkovska (CZE) d. (Q) Olga Govortsova (BLR) 75 64
Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (Q) Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) 63 63
(Q) SÃlvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d. (WC) Alberta Brianti (ITA) 62 61
(Q) Sloane Stephens (USA) d. (Q) Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) 62 26 64
(WC) Venus Williams (USA) d. Simona Halep (ROU) 63 64
(WC) Karin Knapp (ITA) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 64 26 62
File Photograph Copyright: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
- 17/05/2012 23:59 - Italian Open Thursday Wrap: Williams sisters march on, Sharapova downs Ivanovic
- 17/05/2012 00:16 - Rome Masters Wednesday Wrap: Federer, Nadal start campaign with comfortable wins
- 16/05/2012 23:51 - Italian Open Wednesday Wrap: Stosur, Serena through, Radwanska ousted