Sabalenka Rallies, Jabeur Upset At Rome; Swiatek, Gauff Back Saturday

by Staff | May 10th, 2024, 6:37 pm
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Following her Madrid Masters final, Aryna Sabalenka was back on court Friday at the Rome Masters and was in a pickle early before rallying past Katie Volynets 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The world No. 2 broke for 4-2 in the second and won 10 of the last 13 games.

“Honestly, for someone who has been sick for four days and couldn’t get out of bed I think I played really quite well,” Sabalenka said to the WTA. “In the first set I just didn’t feel my tennis at all, I couldn’t feel the rhythm. Just different conditions. So in the second set I said whatever, just do your best with what you have today.”


Former finalist Ons Jabeur was the upset victim of the day going down to former French runner-up Sofia Kenin 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.

Jabeur got a break to start the decider before Kenin would level and eventually break the Tunisian for the win.

“I’m feeling great, happy with the way I played,” Kenin told the WTA. “Definitely, I feel like I’ve come a long way. It’s going in the right direction. I feel like the hard work is paying off. The fact that I’m still fighting.”

Elsewhere, Caroline Garcia ousted Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto in straights 6-2, 7-6(7-5). The 5th-seeded Maria Sakkari rolled Varvara Gracheva 6-2, 6-2. Former runner-up Victoria Azarenka had to fight off Poland’s Magda Linette in three sets 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3. No. 9 Jelena Ostapenko toppled Russia’s Anastasia Potapova 6-4, 6-2. And former champ Elina Svitolina cruised past former runner-up Sara Errani 6-0, 6-2.

Tomorrow, the third round begins with No. 1 Iga Swiatek facing Yulia Putintseva. Swiatek leads 3-0.

No. 3 Coco Gauff battles Jaqueline Cristian in a first-time tour-level collision. No. 6 Marketa Vondrousova clashes with No. 28 Sorana Cirstea, No. 7 Zheng Qinwen meets No. 29 Linda Noskova and No. 10 Daria Kasatkina battles Naomi Osaka. Osaka leads 1-0 in that match-up but had the wrong end of it in practice last month.

“I think I’ve said this before, but she smacked me in Madrid real bad,” Osaka said of Kasatkina. “It was actually embarrassing. I felt like I had to apologize to her after that practice.

“But I’m going into this match knowing that she has way more experience than me on clay. I feel like I’m still a baby giraffe, like I’m trying to learn my steps. I’m just extremely humble. I want to learn from the match I played today and hopefully apply that.

“I know she’s an amazing player. She does really well. She moves really well. Overall I’m just really excited. She’s so nice and her brother is really kind, too.”


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