WTA

Williams sisters set up Rome clash

By Sports Desk May 13, 2019

Serena Williams will face her sister Venus in the second round of the Internazionali d'Italia after they secured contrasting first-round victories on Monday.

Tenth seed Serena started her clay-court season with a commanding 6-4 6-2 over Rebecca Peterson at the Foro Italico.

The 23-time grand slam champion will do battle with her older sibling 21 years after their only other previous match in Rome, which Venus won at the quarter-final stage.

Venus, unseeded in the Eternal City, came through an almighty tussle with Elise Mertens 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-4).

Madison Keys, Anett Kontaveit, Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka also made it through to the second round along with Amanda Anisimova, who will face newly-crowned Madrid Open champion Kiki Bertens.

SERENA LAYS DOWN A MARKER

Former world number one Serena overpowered Peterson in the opening match of what is only her fourth tournament of the year.

The 37-year-old, still eyeing a first title since becoming a mother in 2017, took only an hour and 16 minutes to get past the Swede in her first match in two months, having withdrawn from the Miami Open due to a left knee injury.

Serena, who will face Venus for a 31st time on the WTA Tour, said: "It felt good to be back in the match. It's been a while. I haven't played a ton of matches this year.

"Not my choice, just by force. I really, really actually desperately wanted to be on the tour and to be playing, but it hasn't been able to work out. It felt good to finally be back out. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up."

 

VENUS STILL HAS THE STAYING POWER

Mertens would not go down without a fight as she refused to accept defeat against Venus.

The Belgian saved eight match points to force a decisive tie-break, with Venus unable to shake off an opponent 15 years younger than her.

Venus finally saw it out after three hours and two minutes on Grandstand Court, ending a contest that included 15 breaks of serve.

 

OSAKA TO FACE CIBULKOVA

Naomi Osaka will start her mission to retain world number one status and be top seed at the French Open with a clash against Dominika Cibulkova on Wednesday.

Osaka will achieve both of those goals if she makes it through to the quarter-finals this week, while Simona Halep must win the title to have any chance of replacing her.

Cibulkova saw off Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-3 to avoid a first-round exit.

Related items

  • Popyrin eases into Atlanta second round, Thompson falls Popyrin eases into Atlanta second round, Thompson falls

    Alexei Popyrin stormed into the second round of the Atlanta Open, but fellow Australian and seventh seed Jordan Thompson crashed out.

    Popyrin won almost 70 per cent of his service points as he eased past Denis Kudla 6-3 6-4 at the ATP 250 tournament on Monday.

    The 19-year-old – who tallied nine aces – will face fourth seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert for a spot in the third round.

    Thompson was a first-round casualty in Atlanta, where he fell 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-3 to Brit Cameron Norrie.

    Norrie's three-set victory earned him a match against either South Korean qualifier Kwon Soon-woo or Prajnesh Gunneswaran.

    Third seed Alex de Minaur awaits American Bradley Klahn, who saw off Marius Copil 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

  • Siniakova halted by rain, Parmentier out in Palermo Siniakova halted by rain, Parmentier out in Palermo

    Poor weather stopped Katerina Siniakova as she led at the Baltic Open, where Margarita Gasparyan departed on Monday.

    Siniakova, the third seed in Latvia, was impressing in the final match of the day, leading Anhelina Kalinina 6-4 4-3, when the match was suspended due to a downpour.

    The duo will be forced return to the court on Tuesday.

    Gasparyan will not be back, though, as she retired when trailing 6-4 4-6 4-0 to Irina Bara.

    Diana Marcinkevica ensured there would be a home representative in the next round with a 6-4 6-3 win over Kamilla Rakhimova, while Dalila Jakupovic won the other main-draw match 6-3 7-6 (7-5) against Ana Bogdan.

    Pauline Parmentier, who notably defeated Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon, fell at the first hurdle at the Palermo International.

    The fifth seed went out to Paula Badosa 6-4 7-6 (7-4), but fourth seed Tamara Zidansek fared better, beating Lara Arruabarrena 6-2 6-3.

  • Paire, Garin & Mayer crash out of German Tennis Championships Paire, Garin & Mayer crash out of German Tennis Championships

    Seeded pair Benoit Paire and Cristian Garin were dumped out of the German Tennis Championships on Monday, along with two-time former champion Leonardo Mayer.

    A day of upsets saw Paire go down to countryman Jeremy Chardy, while Garin went out to Andrey Rublev.

    Fifth seed Paire scraped through the opening set but ultimately came up short, losing 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-3.

    Mayer's defeat was perhaps the most shocking reverse, though, as he lost to 18-year-old wildcard Rudolf Molleker in straight sets.

    Home hopeful Molleker came through a first-set tie-break 10-8 and then secured the only break of the match to see off the 2014 and 2017 winner. Mayer had also reached the final last year.

    He was the only German player to win on Monday, however, as Martin Klizan - himself a former champion - eased past Daniel Altmaier.

    Philipp Kohlschreiber was easily dispatched by Marton Fucsovics.

    At the Swiss Open Gstaad, 2014 winner Pablo Andujar came through three sets against Dennis Novak, while Roberto Carballes Baena also advanced.

    Corentin Moutet exited at the hands of Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, but Stefano Travaglia, who defeated Fabio Fognini at last week's Croatia Open Umag, progressed.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.