The main draw of WTA 1000 Internazionali BNL d'Italia has started today, as 12 matches from the opening round schedule were played in the monumental Foro Italico. The matches between unseeded players delivered a ton of emotions, as only 3 of them has ended up in straight sets.
Sofia Kenin sets up the second round against Aryna Sabalenka, which is the match-up between the former and current Australian Open champions. The American defeated Cristina Bucsa in the longest match of the opening day, played in the famous Stadio Pietrangeli. Kenin has needed 3:05 hours to eliminate the Spaniard, winning with a score 6:3 6-7(8) 7-5. The opening set was a really eratic one, as 6 out of 9 games ended up with breaks. It went for the favour of Kenin, but Bucsa started the second set better, leading with a break advantage since 3rd game. The Spaniard had a great chance to serve for this set, being *5-4 and 40-0 up, but wasted all the gap, and 6 setpoints in general throughout whole this game. Kenin came back to this set, but her opponent got back the wasted chance to move the match into decider, as she won a long an intense tiebreak with a score 10-8. Bucsa has needed 10 setpoints to take this set into her account eventually. The decider was also a tight one. Kenin moved into the lead after 5th game, but Bucsa leveled the score 3 games later to make it 4-4. The Australian Open champion from 2020 occured to be better in the decisive moments, as she broke the Spaniard in 11th game and crossed the line a game later, serving for the match to love.
It was a mixed feelings day for the Americans, as 4 players from the United States were competing today with various outcomes. Apart from Kenin, Caty Mcnally has also scored the victory, giving no chance for the local wild card receiver, Dalila Spiteri, winning with a score 6-0 6-1. Two other players from US have lost their matches. Alycia Parks got crushed by Anett Kontaveit, as the former world's number 2 made a successful comeback to the WTA competition after dealing with back injury issues. The Estonian achieved a confident win with a score 6-1 6-1, moving into next round, where she sets up an interesting match-up against Liudmila Samsonova.
Linda Noskova defeated Shelby Rogers in an exciting three-setter, as the 18 years-old Czech won 4-6 6-1 6-4. Noskova made a slight upset on the higher ranked American and performed a significant step to move into top 50 of the WTA rankings for the first time in her career. Rogers won the opening game, which occured to be decisive for the fates of first set, despite Noskova having 5 breakpoint chances in the later stages of it. The Czech has not discouraged herself with that and continued to put the pressure on the more experienced opponent, winning second set with a dominant style. The decider has looked quite different from the start, as Rogers regrouped well and took the break advantage in 4th game. It was not the last momentum switch in this match though, as Noskova played brilliantly since being 2-4 down and grabbed the victory by winning 4 games in a row. Magda Linette is the seed, who meets with the Czech in second round.
The biggest and most surprising plot twist of the day came true in the evening, when Aliaksandra Sasnovich defeated Leylah Fernandez in another thrilling three-setter. The Belarusian was not a pre-match favorite there, as she was rated with an odd 2.56. Not the final score was such a surprise in particular, as the turn of events in the decisive set, where Sasnovich was already losing 0-3 with a double break gap to clear. The world's number 44 won 6 games since then to turn this match over and move into second round, where she meets Donna Vekic.
Apart from the first settlements in the main draw, the qualifying stage came to the end with final round matches being played today. 8 out of 12 top seeds from qualies made it through into main draw. The biggest upset here is 2nd seed Rebecca Masarova being eliminated by Dayana Yastremska in easy two sets with a score 6-3 6-2 for the Ukrainian. Masarova managed to win two main draw matches in previous tournament in Madrid, including the upset on Donna Vekic. Here are the final results of the qualifying: