There were no women’s seeded upsets at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Monday in Rome, but former No. 1 Venus Williams, French Open winner Francesca Schiavone, and former No. 2-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova were all sent packing, all unseeded, on the red clay.
Williams lost to Brit Laura Robson, Schiavone to Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, and Kuznetsova to Romanian qualifier Simona Halep, all in straight sets.
“I just like it on big courts against these huge players because I just go out there with nothing to lose,” said Robson, who will now face another Williams sister in world No. 1 Serena. “I can remember seeing [Venus] play at Wimbledon when I was about 10 and I was kind of blown away with the speed that she hit the ball. Today when she hit it in the center of the racket it was basically point over, so I just had to take my chances.”
Also advancing were (9) Sam Stosur, former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, and German Sabine Lisicki.
Only one seeded upset on the men’s side Monday as unseeded German grinder Philipp Kohlschreiber took out No. 14-seeded Canuck Milos Raonic 7-6(2), 6-4.
“I’m fairly disappointed with today, I didn’t do what I needed to do,” Raonic said. “I had too many mistakes, too much up and down. Consistency was an issue for me today. I had hopes when I led 4-1 in the tiebreaker and when I saved those two match points. But in the end I was missing shots by quite a bit or he was playing well. I was letting him get ahead in points. It all depended on me today.”
Other notable winners Monday were (11) Marin Cilic, (16) Kei Nishikori, (Q) Al Montanes, (Q) Ernests Gulbis defeating veteran Jarkko Nieminen, and (Q) Alex Kuznetsov.
“I learned a lot of things from last week against Roger [Federer],” said Nishikori, who on Monday downed Paolo Lorenzi 6-2, 6-4. “I have to be a little more aggressive than usual, using my forehand a lot, and today was much better. I’m playing well and it’s my first victory here, so I’m happy.”
Matches to look for Tuesday in Rome are aplenty in (9) Richard Gasquet vs. Grigor “Mr. Sharapova” Dimitrov, (1) Novak Djokovic coming off an ankle injury vs. (Q) Al Montanes, (1) Serena Williams vs. Venus-killer Laura Robson, (13) Tommy Haas vs. Mikhail Youzhny, (16) Sloane Stephens vs. (WC) Flavia Pennetta in an upset alert, (8) Petra Kvitova vs. Sabine Lisicki, (11) Marin Cilic vs. Kevin “Mr.” Anderson in a battle of big servers, (12) Maria Kirilenko vs. (Q) Anabel Medina Garrigues in an upset alert, and (11) Nadia Petrova vs. Carla Suarez Navarro.
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