Once the emotions related with the Mutua Madrid Open are already fading away, the another monumental clay tournament starts this week, as the WTA 1000 Internazionali BNL d'Italia is underway with main draw being already revealed. The matches of the opening round start tomorrow, while top 32 seeds, same as during all preceeding WTA 1000 tournaments, start their campaign in Rome from second round, being gifted with first round byes. As for now, all the names from top 20 of the WTA ranking apart from Belinda Bencic and Petra Kvitova, are supposed to participate in the exciting two-weeks event in Foro Italico.
Iga Swiatek headlines the first quarter of main draw as a top seed. The Pole is placed in the same quarter with Elena Rybakina again this year, which foreshadows the possible match-up between both in the quarterfinal. The same happened in Madrid's draw, but Rybakina got eliminated quite early, coming up short to Anna Kalinskaya. The Russian, interestingly, is also there, and can meet with Rybakina again as early as in the 3rd round. Another big name in this part of draw is Maria Sakkari. The semifinalist from Madrid can play against Rybakina in the round of 16. Swiatek's path to the quarters should not be difficult. The Pole will be challenged in 2nd round by the winner of match between Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and wild card receiver Sara Errani. Anett Kontaveit appears in the top quarter in her comeback to the WTA competition after curing her back injury. The Estonian starts from the match against Alycia Parks in first round.
Second quarter delivers the possible absolute hit of second round, as Paula Badosa approaches Rome as the unseeded player, who gets paired against 4th seed Ons Jabeur, unless the Spaniard prevails in her first round match against the player from qualies. It is quite interesting and well balanced part of the draw, with many good players who can do well on clay, but without a clear favorite to indicate as a one who is a banker to reach out the semis from there. Martina Trevisan, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Barbora Krejcikova and Jelena Ostapenko are the seeds who can surely mix in the pack. Daria Kasatkina and Jil Teichmann can capitalize on the formidable draw for a few first matches and bounce back from the miserable season so far, as both can play against the local wild card receivers in their opening matches.
Jessica Pegula and Cori Gauff headline the third quarter, being seeded respectively 3rd and 6th. Gauff can count on quite an easy path to the round of 16, where she can meet the semifinalist from Mutua Madrid Open - Veronika Kudermetova. The Russian will want to continue the good momentum after the successful run in Spain, where she advanced into semis after a few hard fought three sets victories. Pegula will be a strong favorite to reach out at least the quarterfinals stage. Her most dangerous opponent on the road there are Irina Camelia Begu (31th seed), Qinwen Zheng (22nd) and Karolina Pliskova (13th).
Aryna Sabalenka comes to Rome as the latest WTA 1000 trophy holder after defeating Iga Swiatek in the final of Mutua Madrid Open. The Belarusian surely wants to make a successful run in Rome as well, as she is chasing the Pole in the fight for the WTA ranking's leader spot, after being undisputedly the best player of 2023 season so far. The draw can help the current world's number 2, as she is a big favorite of the last quarter to reach out the semifinals. Sabalenka can meet with Sofia Kenin in second round's clash between the Australian Open champions, if the American eliminates Cristina Bucsa in the opening round. Caroline Garcia is second best seed in this quarter. The top French racquet will try to bounce back ahead of her home Grand Slam, as she did not manage to win more than 2 matches since Indian Wells two months ago. Garcia can be challenged in 3rd round by Petra Martic, who made a good run in Madrid by advancing into QFs.