Top ten troubles continue in WTA 1000 Italian Open in Rome
Top ten stars Maria Sakkari and Coco Gauff suffered third round defeats at the Italian Open in Rome on Sunday.
On a day that also saw Iga Swiatek and Jelena Ostapenko advance, Marie Bouzkova upset Gauff while her compatriot Markéta Vondroušová downed Sakkari.
Swiatek, Elena Rybakina and Daria Kasatkina are now the only remaining top ten players in the draw.
Kasatkina would survive a potential upset by seeing off Julia Grabher in a three-setter and she goes on to face Ostapenko.
Former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka was also forced to withdraw from the tournament.
Bouzkova bested Gauff 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in a rain-postponed match that concluded on Sunday.
She refocused after losing the opening set and dominated the second and third sets to seal progression to the Round of 16.
“Even after the first set, I just kept on fighting, and I kind of knew that I had to elevate my game to get the win today, and at least stay in the match,” Bouzkova said after her win.
“I think I did that pretty well, and then my service games started to work, and I just started to feel really comfortable on the court.
“I love to play here. I think in Europe, it might be my favorite tournament. I didn’t play here last year, so I was really looking forward to playing here. I like the conditions and I like the crowd here, it gives me so much energy.”
Bouzkova advances to the Round of 16 on Monday, when she will play Veronika Kudermetova, the 11th seed, for the first time this year. Overall, their four prior matchups have been split evenly.
“I expect a tough match, [Kudermetova is] a big hitter,” Bouzkova said. “I just have to grind it out like I did today, fight for every ball, and let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Sakkari was another well-known player to exit on Sunday as the Greek ninth seed was defeated by Vondrousova 7-5, 6-3.
After besting the 24th seed Bianca Andreescu in the previous round, the 2020 Rome semifinalist Vondrousova is on a roll. Up next for her is either Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina or Anna Kalinskaya.
Due to a right leg injury, 14th seed Victoria Azarenka withdrew from her match against the advancing Madison Keys who moves into the Round of 16 via walkover.
On Monday, Keys, a 2016 Rome finalist, will compete against Ukrainian 30th seed Anhelina Kalinina at a time yet to be determined.
Anna Kalinskaya retired to allow Rybakina to advanced from their match with the Wimbledon champion leading 4-3 in the first set.
Italian Open women’s singles results
Iga Swiatek (POL x1) bt Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-2, 6-0
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) bt Maria Sakkari (GRE x9) 7-5, 6-3
Paula Badosa (ESP) bt Marta Kostyuk (UKR x32) 6-4, 6-2
Karolina Muchova (CZE) bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 7-6 (7/4), 6-2
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x20) bt Barbora Krejcikova (CZE x10) 7-6 (7/2), 6-0
Daria Kasatkina (x8) bt Julia Grabher (AUT) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2)
Marie Bouzkova (CZE x27) bt Coco Gauff (USA x6) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Madison Keys (USA x19) bt Victoria Azarenka (x14) – walkover
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