Six Current or Former No. 1s This Week at WTA Rome

Posted on May 3, 2009

The Williams sisters return as a duo to challenge world No. 1 Dinara Safina, last week's Stuttgart winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and former No. 1-ranked Serbs Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic this week at the Internazionali BNL D'Italia in Rome.

Other Top 8 seeds in the 56-player draw are Victoria Azarenka and Nadia Petrova.

The Top 8 seeds receive an opening-round bye, with Safina looking at Venus Williams and Ivanovic in her half of the draw, but the world No. 1 should face little resistance until either Petrova or Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals. Venus and Ivanovic face a potential quarterfinal meeting, if they can navigate past quarter-mates Anna Chakvetadze, Anabel Medina Garrigues, and Agnieszka Radwanska.

Kuznetsova and Jankovic are favored for a quarterfinal meeting in the third quarter. Players lying in wait in this quarter include Daniela Hantuchova, Flavia Pennetta, Alize Cornet and the hot-handed Gisela Dulko.

Serena Williams, attempting to return from a thigh injury that sidelined her for a couple weeks, including missing Charleston, faces a potential second-round meeting with Patty Schnyder after a bye. Azarenka will likely be awaiting the world No. 2-ranked American in the quarterfinals.

Jankovic is the two-time defending champ, last year beating Cornet 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

This is the 65th edition of Rome, which has been staged from 1930 to 1935, 1950 to 1985, and from 1987 to 2008. Chris Evert has the record for most titles in the Open Era with five, with Gabriela Sabatini and Conchita Mart�nez collecting four each.