Siniakova sees off Kerber fall at first hurdle as Rublev advances in Rome - GulfToday

Siniakova sees off Kerber fall at first hurdle as Rublev advances in Rome

Katerina Siniakova

Katerina Siniakova in action against Angelique Kerber during their Italian Open match on Tuesday. Reuters

Rome: Former world number one Angelique Kerber fell to a straight sets defeat to Czech Katerina Siniakova in the Italian Open on Tuesday as Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev eased through to the second round of the men’s tournament.

Three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber, seeded 15th in the Rome clay-court tournament being played behind closed doors at the Foro Italico, crashed out 6-3, 6-1 in 68 minutes.

Siniakova, ranked 61, achieved her first win over the 32-year-old German in four meetings and next plays either Daria Kasatkina or Vera Zvonareva, with the two Russians playing later.

Top women’s seed Simona Halep opens against Italian wildcard Jasmine Paolini, with the Romanian warming up in the doubles on Tuesday, having skipped the US tournaments.

The switch from hard court at the US Open to clay proved tricky for Kerber, who reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.

The Rome tournament is a warm-up for the French Open on September 27, the only Grand Slam tournament which Kerber has not won.

She paid for 23 unforced errors, twice as many as her Czech rival, although she saved three match points to hold serve in the second set.

Elsewhere Czech 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova, last year’s Roland Garros runner-up, dropped a set before seeing off Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

In the men’s event, US Open quarter-finalist Rublev, eased past Argentine qualifier Facundo Bagnis 6-4, 6-4 and next meets Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.

Australian John Millman recovered from 2-4 down in the second set to overcome lucky loser Joao Sousa 7-5, 7-6 (7/2) and next meets Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

Earlier, Japan’s Kei Nishikori got his first win in a year at the Italian Open on Monday with former Rome semi-finalists Grigor Dimitrov and Marin Cilic also easing into the second round of the clay-court tournament.

Nishikori needed six match points to get past Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) in two hours behind closed doors at the Foro Italico for his first win since reaching the 2019 US Open third round.

Nishikori will next meet either three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, or Italian qualifier Lorenzo Musetti, as he builds his fitness towards the French Open later this month.

Top seeds Novak Djokovic and defending champion Rafael Nadal, winner nine times, have first round byes in a tournament rescheduled from May due to the coronavirus pandemic. They will begin their campaigns on Wednesday.

Elsewhere 15th seed Dimitrov saw off Italian wild card Gianluca Mager 7-5, 6-1.

Cilic battled past Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-4 for a second round meeting with sixth seed David Goffin.

France’s Benoit Paire lost his opener 6-2, 6-1 to Italian teen Jannik Sinner.

Borna Coric eased past 14th seed Cristian Garin 6-4, 6-4, while Frenchman Ugo Humbert defeated two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) in his Rome debut.

In the women’s tournament, US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens showed no problems switching from hard court to clay with the 11th seed disposing of Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei 6-3, 6-1.

Jasmine Paolini eased past Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 6-2, 6-3 to earn a second round clash with top seed Simona Halep of Romania.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova opens her title defence against fellow Czech Barbora Strycova who strolled past Russian Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-3.


Related articles