Internazionali BNL d’Italia is the most prestigious clay-court tournament after Roland Garros. It is a Tier I event with the prize money of $1,340,000.
Amelie Mauresmo of France is seeded at the top. She is the 2004 and 2005 winner, and in 2000, 2001 and 2003 she was in the final. Although world No. 4 has only recently returned to tennis, after a break caused by her appendix operation, she is still one of the favorites to take the trophy.
Second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova hasn’t had a very satisfying year — she was a runner-up three times (in Doha, Indian Wells, and last week in Berlin). Still, without doubt, she has a potential to make Rome her first title of 2007.
World No. 5 Jelena Jankovic is definitely in good form. The Serbian has already collected two titles in 2007– Auckland and Charleston. We can expect a lot from her.
Although Serena Williams hasn’t played since the Fed Cup first round in April, the 2002 champion, this year seeded 8th, is certainly someone we can’t discount. She has been superb this season winning the Australian Open and Sony Ericsson Open. What more can you ask for?
Nadia Petrova of Russia is seeded fifth. She won three consecutive titles on clay last year. Her compatriot Dinara Safina, seeded sixth, reached the final on clay in Charleston, as well as last year in Rome when she was defeated by Martina Hingis.
Other players making up the top 8 seeds are Nicole Vaidisova and Anna Chakvetadze. We expect some good action from them as well.
We should also mention No. 12th seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia who won a tournament in Berlin a few days ago and entered the top 10 for the first time in her career. In Rome’s quarterfinals we might have a chance to watch a re-run of Berlin’s final with Kuznetsova.
Maria Sharapova and Martina Hingis won’t play this year because of injuries, while world No.1 Justine Henin didn’t enter.