Halep through in Rome despite sluggish start, Pliskova, Azarenka advance – tennis

Top seed Simona Halep overcame a few hiccups in her first match on the Italian Open in Rome to beat wildcard Jasmine Paolini 6-3 6-4 and transfer into the third spherical on Wednesday. The 28-12 months-outdated Wimbledon champion has solely misplaced twice this 12 months however discovered herself a break down in each units earlier than she recovered to seal her first victory since profitable the Prague Open a month in the past.

World quantity two Halep, who had skipped the U.S. Open as a consequence of COVID-19 considerations and opted to remain in Europe and follow on the claycourts forward of the French Open, regarded sluggish on the Foro Italico with 14 winners offset by 15 unforced errors.

“I was a little bit tight at the beginning, it was tough to get a rhythm in the whole match,” Halep instructed reporters. “It’s always tough in the first match of the tournament and she played really well. I felt like I played very well when needed.”

Halep had acquired a bye into the second spherical however was removed from her finest on serve and was damaged 5 occasions in the match. However, Paolini was additionally let down by seven double faults in the match and Halep capitalised on her second serve, profitable 15 of 17 factors to take the opening set. She switched gears late in the second to take the sport away from the Italian, who was enjoying a high-10 participant for less than the second time in her profession, as Halep completed the match after changing her eighth break level.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova began her title defence with a 6-3 6-3 win over Barbora Strycova, changing 4 break factors and smashing 26 winners previous her Czech compatriot. Meanwhile, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka beat American Venus Williams 7-6(7) 6-2 to arrange a second-spherical conflict with third seed Sofia Kenin.

After profitable the Western & Southern Open final month and shedding the U.S. Open last in New York over the weekend, Azarenka had no issues switching from hardcourt to clay in simply 4 days.

“Different surface was definitely challenging but I feel like I adapted very well,” Azarenka stated. “I felt that this was a terrific match for me to determine it out, the primary match on clay.


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