Fresh off the controversial blue clay of Madrid, the clay season has moved to Rome and back to the traditional surface in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. On the women's side, early action has seen some surprising upsets in the third day of play May 16. Top-ranked players who moved ahead also faced challenging opening matches. The end result is an exciting tournament.
Radwanska knocked out
The world no. 3 has had a great 2012 so far, and had only lost to world no 1 Victoria Azarenka prior to Rome. That was until she came up against Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic. Radwanska has never beaten Cetkovska, and is now has a 0-4 career mark against her.
The 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 win for Cetkovska might have been aided by Radwanska's level of play over the past few months. Going deep in so many tourneys can take a toll, and that's something the Pole hinted at. She also alluded to the clay event coming up in Brussels, which comes up before the French Open.
"I am tired with all the matches I am playing on clay court(s), and I have some problems with my back, Radwanska said. "But I still have some matches before Paris."
Wozniacki out, Goerges over Bartoli
Caroline Wozniacki retired with an upper respiratory illness in her match when she was down to Anabel Medina Garrigues, 4-6, 0-4. At that point, might as well suffer through the last couple of sets and take the defeat. Of course, it's hard to say just how sick Wozniacki was.
German Julia Goerges earned somewhat of an upset over no. 7 Marion Bartoli, taking the Frenchwoman down easily in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1. The road ahead for Goerges goes to her countrywoman, the 12th-seeded Angelique Kerber.
Garrigues will face Serena
Next up for the Spaniard is Serena Williams, who has been having a great clay season so far. Serena did need three sets to get past Russian Nadia Petrova, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, but looked very strong in the final two sets. Sister Venus Williams moved ahead as well, getting past Russian Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets. Venus will play Australian Samantha Stosur in third round.
Ivanovic to play Sharapova
In what promises to be one of the premier matches of the early going, Serb Ana Ivanovic will play Russian Maria Sharapova in the third round. Sharapova downed American Christina McHale after a bye in the first round.
Ivanovic has had two matches, taking out Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova first, then beating Spanish qualifier Silvia Soler-Espinosa, beating both in straight sets. This one is tough to call, as both have shown flashes of brilliance in the early going of 2012.
Jeff Musall is a longtime fan and player of tennis. He began following the professional game as a kid back in the late '70s, watching the greats of that era.
- Sports & Recreation
- Petra Cetkovska
- Caroline Wozniacki
- Victoria Azarenka