After a washed-out Wednesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Thursday’s schedule was insanely busy and six eventual quarterfinalists played their second-round and third-round matches one after the other.
World No.1 Naomi Osaka first dispatched Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-3, then returned to the court to see off Mihaela Buzarnescu with the same scoreline and advance to the last eight in Rome. The Japanese will next face fresh Mutua Madrid Open champion Kiki Bertens, seeded sixth this week, who won two three-setters on Thursday, first against Amanda Anisimova and then against Carla Suarez Navarro.
Marketa Vondrousova also mastered the packed schedule, beating two-time defending finalist Simona Halep and then Daria Kasatkina to make the quarterfinals. Vondrousova’s upcoming opponent Johanna Konta sent home two Grand Slam champions in one day, first Sloane Stephens with a come-from-behind victory and then Venus Williams in straight sets.
Kristina Mladenovic is doing good with new coach Sascha Bajin, progressing to the Rome quarterfinals with notable wins over in-form Belinda Bencic and Ashleigh Barty on Thursday. Building up on her victory over Anett Kontaveit in the second round, late at night Maria Sakkari got back to work and completed the quarterfinal field at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia as Petra Kvitova retired down 0-4 in the third set, after showing discomfort with her left calf/lower leg.
Victoria Azarenka and Karolina Pliskova will clash in the quarterfinals, as the only players who had the privilege of completing their second-round matches on Tuesday. After fighting past twice defending champion Elina Svitolina two days ago, Azarenka didn’t even play a complete third-round match against Garbine Muguruza today, as the Spaniard retired midway through the second set because of a left thigh injury. Pliskova battled past Sofia Kenin in three sets.
Our Jimmie48 was as busy as the players from the early morning, bringing us more than 200 photos as the schedule in Rome was catching up after yesterday’s persistent rain.
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