American men made a statement on Sunday at the Italian Open — a bad one — when both exited in first round play.
Sadder news for U.S. men’s tennis? They were the Top 2 ranked players for the U.S. Sadder still? Both were unseeded in the 16-seeded field. Sadder still? Never mind, this can go on and on.
On the slow red dirt in Rome on Sunday Sam Querrey exited 6-2, 7-6(8) against No. 9 seed Richard Gasquet, and John Isner was bumped from the draw 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3 at the hands of Denis Istomin.
Other winners Sunday were Alexandr Dolgopolov, Kevin Anderson, Marcel Granollers defeating clay veteran Nikolay Davydenko, and Grigor “Mr. Sharapova” Dimitrov defeating former Top 10er Marcos Baghdatis.
In the final round of women’s singles qualifying on Sunday, players into the main draw were Czech Andrea Hlavackova, the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko, Romanian Simona Halep, Spaniards Garbine Muguruza and Anabel Medina Garrigues, Americans Mallory Burdette and Melanie Oudin, and France’s Mathilde Johansson.
Women’s main draw play starts Monday in Rome.
Matches to look for on Monday include Venus Williams vs. Laura Robson, Jarkko Nieminen vs. Ernests Gulbis, (11) Marin Cilic vs. qualifier Andrey Golubev, and former French winner Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. former gazonga-lugger Simona Halep.
Venus, who has withdrawn from her most recent tournament entries citing a back injury, would meet sister Serena in the second round if she can get by the talented Brit comer Robson in her opener.
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