Mon, 21 Jun 2021

No. 10 seed Belinda Bencic ousted at Italian Open

Field Level Media
12 May 2021, 07:19 GMT+10

France's Kristina Mladenovic eliminated No. 10 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland with a 6-3, 6-4 win Tuesday in the first round of the Italian Open in Rome.

Mladenovic turned the tables on Bencic, who won their opening-round clash at the Mutua Madrid Open two weeks earlier. Taking advantage of seven double faults from Bencic, Mladenovic notched her first Top 20 win since beating Ashleigh Barty in the 2019 Billie Jean King Cup final.

Other seeded players to fall as first-round play concluded in the rainy Italian capital Tuesday included No. 14 Elise Mertens of Belgium and No. 16 Johanna Konta of Great Britain.

Russia's Veronika Kudermetova outlasted Mertens 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win against Konta.

Mertens defeated Kudermetova in straight sets in each of their three previous encounters, but Kudermetova had 40 winners to 31 unforced errors compared to Mertens' 15 winners and 24 unforced errors -- including nine double faults.

Ostapenko converted six of her 13 break points and put away Konta in one hour and 11 minutes.

No. 12 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain, a three-time Rome semifinalist, endured a lengthy rain delay and a last-minute change in opponents to reach the second round. After Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova withdrew with an abdominal injury, Muguruza defeated replacement Romanian Patricia Maria Tig 6-1, 6-2 in just over an hour.

"It was a weird day," Muguruza said after improving to 22-6 this season. "I woke up sunny, had an opponent. Then it turned out I had another opponent and it was raining the whole match. We had a little bit of everything.

"But, Rome, it's such a familiar tournament. I played here so many times, I've had nice matches. I love this clay, the red clay. It's familiar to me. Just looking forward to get as many matches as possible."

Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber of Germany defeated France's Alize Cornet 6-2, 7-5 to set up a second-round meeting with No. 3 seed Simona Halep of Romania. Halep holds a 6-5 edge in the all-time series between the two former World No. 1s.

Madison Keys rallied to beat fellow American Sloane Stephens 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. Other winners included Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, Nadia Podoroska of Argentina, Caroline Garcia of France, Bernarda Pera of the U.S., Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, and Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia.

--Field Level Media

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