WTA Rome: Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova through to 3rd round - UBITENNIS
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WTA Rome: Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova through to 3rd round





TENNIS WTA Rome – Serena Williams dispelled any doubts on her form after retiring before the Madrid quarter final last week with a convincing 6-2 6-2 win over German Andrea Petkovic. Maria Sharapova remains in contention for her third consecutive title on clay this season after Stuttgart and Madrid with 12 consecutive wins on this surface but she had to dig deep to beat Monica Puig 6-3 7-5. Diego Sampaolo

Interviews, results, order of play, draws of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome

Serena Williams vs Andrea Petkovic 6-2 6-2

Serena Williams dispelled any doubts on her form after retiring before the Madrid quarter final last week with a convincing 6-2 6-2 win over German Andrea Petkovic in 76 minutes.

Serena opened the match with a break to love and backed up the break with a hold to 30 en route to storming to a 4-0 lead after 18 minutes. The Rome defending champion pulled away to 5-1 with a forehand cross-court shot before closing out the set with a backhand after 34 minutes.

In the first set Williams won 13 of her first serve points. On the contrary, Petkovic won eight of her 19 points played on her first serve.

Williams broke serve in the opening game of the second set before fending off three break points in the second game. She hit a backhand winner down the line to break serve in a row to cruise to a 3-0 lead.

Williams committed a double fault by hitting a forehand into the net drop serve for the first time in the match. Petkovic held serve to love to claw her way back to 2-3. Williams held serve to love in the following game to pull away to 4-2 before closing out the match with a service winner. It was not a perfect match for Williams who won 44 percent of her second serve points and committed five double faults but she showed that she is fully recovered from the injury which sidelined from the quarter final in Madrid.

In the next round she will face her compatriot Varvara Lepchenko who beat Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-2.

Maria Sharapova vs Monica Puig 6-3 7-5

Maria Sharapova remains in contention for her third consecutive title on clay this season after Stuttgart and Madrid with 12 consecutive wins on this surface but she had to dig deep to beat Monica Puig 6-3 7-5.

In her first match after beating Simona Halep 1-6 6-2 6-3 in Madrid last Sunday Sharapova rallied from 0-2 15-30 reeling off six of the next seven games to clinch the first set. Puig cruised to a 4-1 lead in the second set but Sharapova fought back winning six of the next seven games to close out the match and clinch her 16th win in a row in the Eternal city where she will be looking to repeat the title won in 2012.

I had a little bit of a slow start. It took me a little bit to get a good feeling out there but once I did, I felt really strong and I am happy I was able to close out the match after being down in the second set”, said Sharapova

She will face Ana Ivanovic in a blockbuster third round in a re-match of the recent Stuttgart final. The Serbian player beat Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet 7-6 7-5.

Sara Errani avenged her friend Roberta Vinci’s defeat against Ekaterina Makarova beating the Russian player 6-2 6-3. The Italian player, semifinalist in Rome last year, got an early break in the opening set and reeled off 8 of the first nine points. The 2012 Roland Garros finalist broke serve early in the second set for 2-1 en route to winning the second set. Errani converted four of her six break point chances and never faced a single break point. She dropped just seven first serve points

There was further delight for Italian tennis as Francesca Schiavone bounced back from a set down to edge Garbine Muguruza 3-6 6-1 7-6 (7-5) and Flavia Pennetta overcame a second-set loss to beat Swiss rising star Belinda Bencic 6-2 2-6 6-3

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In-Form Liudmila Samsonova Storms To Tokyo Title

Tokyo is the second tournament this year the Russian has won without dropping a set.




Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Liudmila Samsonova has continued her rapid surge on the Tour by defeating China’s Qinwen Zheng 7-5, 7-5, to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. 


The world No.30 dropped serve only once and hit four aces as she edged her way past rising star Zheng who is the first Chinese teenager to reach the final of a Tour-level singles event. Overall, Samsonova won 68% of her service points en route to becoming the first Russian player to win the tournament since Nadia Petrova in 2012. 

“It’s amazing, I don’t have too many words right now. I need a little bit of time,” said Samsonova, who beat Grand Slam champions Elena Rybakina and Garbine Muguruza earlier in the draw. 
“It was a really tough match. She is playing amazing. It was a nervous match, we were fighting every point. It was tough.”

Samsonova is becoming a formidable force in the women’s game and has now won 18 out of her past 19 matches. Last month she also won titles in Washington and Cleveland before reaching the last 16 of the US Open for the first time in her career at the age of 23. She is now 4-0 in tournament finals and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo this week. 

“I played a high level in all my five matches. I am incredibly happy about how I managed it,” she said.

There is also a reason for Zheng to celebrate with her run in Tokyo securing her place in the world’s top 30 for the first time on Monday when the rankings are updated. Making her the first Chinese player to do so as a teenager. She is also only the second teenager to reach the final of a WTA 500 event or higher this season after Coco Gauff at the French Open. 

Samsonova will also rise to a ranking high on Monday to just outside the world’s top 20. 

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Naomi Osaka Seeks Resurgence At Home Event After Rollercoaster Year




Naomi Osaka training at the 2021 Madrid Open (image by Media Hub Mutua Madrid Open)

Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka admits that there have been more downs than ups for her this year but she is maintaining a positive outlook. 


The four-time Grand Slam champion has played 22 matches so far this season with her win-loss record currently standing at 13-9. However, at her six most recent tournaments she has failed to win back-to-back matches and is currently on a four-match losing streak. Osaka also missed this year’s Wimbledon Championships due to an achilles injury. 

Currently ranked 44th in the world, Osaka is hoping to break her slump at this week’s Toray Pan Pacific Open which will be held in Tokyo. It will be the first time she has played since losing to Danielle Collins in the first round of the US Open. 

“I think, of course, the year has (not been) the best year for me,” Osaka said during her pre-tournament press conference. “But I think overall I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m just happy to be healthy. Because in Europe, I did injure myself, and that was like my first injury that took me that long to get healed.

“I think life is kind of ups and downs and this one was kind of more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”

Osaka is the defending champion in Tokyo, even though she won the tournament back in 2019. The event has been cancelled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has happened to the Japanese player since she won the title, both on and off the court. Osaka has spoken publicly about her mental health issues and took time away from the sport because of them. 

“It feels really weird to hear that I’m the defending champion because it was the last time I played in 2019,” she said. “I would love to win it again, but I think just taking it one match at a time … and also just playing in front of a crowd in Tokyo again, because the Olympics was crowdless, so it will just be nice to see people.”

This year Osaka does not have a seeding in the Tokyo draw which is in stark contrast to three years ago when she was the highest-ranked player in the tournament. She will begin her campaign against Australia’s Daria Saville and could then face fifth seed, Beatriz Haddad Maia, in the last 16. 

“I think every year for me since the first Slam, there’s been a lot of changes,” Osaka said. “But I think this year it has definitely been a real growing year for me. I think tennis-wise, I don’t really think I can go in a wrong direction. I feel like me as a player, my base is pretty solid. I can only really learn more about myself. I know that I am an aggressive player and I can only hope to keep doing that.

Away from the Tour, the 24-year-old remains one of the highest-earning players in the sport. According to a report published by Forbes in August, she earned in the region of £56.2M over 12 months with $55M of that coming from off-court ventures. She has also set up her own sports agency with long-time agent Stuart Duguid, signing Nick Kyrgios as one of her clients. 

“For everything off court, I think it’s really cool how tennis has let me get so many opportunities in things that I’m interested in, and it’s something I’m really happy and grateful for and I can only hope it keeps evolving.” She commented.

This week Osaka is seeking to win her first title of any sort since the 2021 Australian Open. 

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Simona Halep Ends 2022 Season With Nose Surgery And Mental Exhaustion

Simona Halep will return to the court in 2023.




Simona Halep (@NewsCentralTV - Twitter)

Simona Halep has ended her season after having nose surgery and suffering from mental exhaustion in recent months.


The two-time Grand Slam champion has had a mixed season this year with the Romanian almost quitting the sport in February.

However the former world number one reunited with Patrick Mouratoglou and produced a world-class grass court season and US Hard court swing to get back into the world’s top ten.

Despite this, Halep has also had her troubles having had a panic attack at Roland Garros and struggled with anxiety.

This was all produced by the Romanian in her statement when she announced she would not play the rest of the season due to a nose surgery which has been linked to her breathing.

Now Halep will look to recover mentally and physically in time for January’s Australian Open as she will look to become a Grand Slam champion for the third time in her career.

Simona Halep’s 2022 Season:

Melbourne Summer Set 1: Champion

Australian Open: R4 l. Cornet

Dubai: Semi-Finals l. Ostapenko

Qatar: R1 l. Garcia

Indian Wells: Semi-Finals l. Swiatek

Madrid: Quarter-Finals l. Jabeur

Rome: R2 l. Collins

Roland Garros: R2 l. Q. Zheng

Birmingham: Semi-Finals l. Haddad Maia

Bad Homburg: Semi-Finals l. Andreescu

Wimbledon: Semi-Finals l. Rybakina

Washington: R2 l. Kalinskaya

Toronto: Champion

Cincinnati: R2 – Withdrew

US Open: R1 l. Snigur

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