A pair of unseeded veteran Slam winners orchestrated upsets on Monday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome when Samantha Stosur defeated No. 15 seed Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 6-3, and Francesca Schiavone put on a claycourt clinic in ousting No. 17 seed Genie Bouchard 6-4, 6-2.
Seeded players into the second round were No. 11 Ana Ivanovic, No. 12 Flavia Pennetta, and No. 16 Sloane Stephens coming from a set down to defeat Serb Bojana Jovanovski 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Unseeded players of note into the second round were Andrea Petkovic, former world No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova, former No. 1 Venus Williams, and American Madison Keys who subdued countrywoman Alison Riske 6-2, 6-2.
“After Charleston I put my racquets down and wasn’t able to play anywhere for a while,” said Williams after playing her first match in more than a month due to illness, cruising past Annika Beck. “I got back on the court about a week before Madrid, just taking my time and getting my rhythm again…Today I spent the first two games trying to get my flow again, and after that I felt pretty good.”
Top-ranked Serena Williams would not commit to playing after pulling out of Madrid last week with a injured left thigh.
“I’m taking it a day at a time. We’ll see as the week goes on. I have the rest of the day off and I’ll see how I feel tomorrow,” Williams said. “I hit some balls today a little bit so I’m going to see later tonight how it feels.”
Only one seeded upset on the men’s side Monday as Czech upset specialist Lukas Rosol defeated one of the hottest claycourt players over the last two years, downing No. 13-seeded Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-2.
Other seeded winners on the day were No. 11 Jo-Wilfried over Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6(5); No. 12 Grigor Dimitrov coming from a set down to defeat France’s Ed Roger-Vasselin 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; and No. 14 Mikhail Youzhny winning the veteran battle over France’s Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-4.
“The first couple of matches are always tricky, as you have to adjust to the different conditions,” Dimitrov said. “This time it was Madrid’s altitude to the speed of the Rome courts. As much as I’d like to say I became accustomed to the court, I was flat in the first set and didn’t execute my chances.”
Dimitrov will next meet “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, a winner on Monday.
Highlights of Tuesday play include Radek “The Worm” Stepanek vs. (2) Novak Djokovic, Italian homeboy Andreas Seppi vs. (15) Tommy Haas, (9) Dominika Cibulkova vs. the feisty Italian (WC) Camila Giorgi, and German qualifier Mona Barthel vs. (13) Carla Suarez Navarro.
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