Top seeds Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina advanced to the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, while Victoria Azarenka won a blockbuster against Venus Williams, the only first-round match on Wednesday’s schedule. Our photographer Jimmie48 made it to most of today’s matches in Rome, but before showing you his photos, let’s first do a little recap.
Playing her first event back since the hiatus, Belinda Bencic fell to qualifier Danka Kovinic 6-3 6-1 in just 71 minutes. This is probably Kovinic’s biggest career victory, but the Montenegrin had actually defeated the Swiss in their only previous meeting, over five years ago at Charleston. The sixth-seeded Bencic is the only seed that fell in Wednesday’s second-round action in Rome.
Top seed Simona Halep withstood an early scare to overcome wildcard Jasmine Paolini 6-3 6-4 and extend her winning streak to ten matches, including title runs at Dubai and Prague. The Romanian’s third-round opponent will be Dayana Yastremska, who battled past Amanda Anisimova 4-6 7-6(3) 6-4.
Seed No.10 Elena Rybakina defeated Marie Bouzkova 7-5 7-6(3) and seed No.11 Elise Mertens beat Magda Linette 6-2 6-4.
In the evening, second seed Karolina Pliskova kicked off her title defense with a 6-3 6-3 victory over fellow Czech Barbora Strycova, while fourth seed Elina Svitolina closed Wednesday’s schedule with a hard-fought 6-3 7-6(4) win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
In the sole first-round encounter today, Victoria Azarenka continued to impress with her recent form as she battled past Venus Williams in a very tough opener and is now awaiting yet another super tough opponent in Sofia Kenin.
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