The highlight of the third day of the Italian Open, at least as regards the women's draw, was undoubtedly the clash between the former world number 1 Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams. The Belarusian won with a score of 7-6 (7) 6-2 in just over two hours of battle, testifying to a much more hard-fought match than the score suggests.
Few would have imagined seeing Vika at the Foro Italico in Rome this year, especially after the number 14 WTA had touched the title at the US Open just a few days ago. Azarenka, a finalist here in 2013, took her revenge on Venus, who had beaten her in the last precedent which took place in Lexington last month.
The balance characterized above all the first set, giving credit to the determination of V. Williams, who fully honored what may have been her last appearance in the Eternal City (where she became champion in 1999). In the second round Victoria will have to contend with another Grand Slam champion, Sofia Kenin.
The young American, who disappointed her expectations at the US Open a little, is still having a great season, having won the Australian Open at the beginning of the year. The 21-year-old of Russian descent leads 1-0 on the head-to-head record, but has had to work much harder than expected to break down her opponent's stamina in the Acapulco quarter-finals last year.
Halep came back to win
As widely predictable on the eve, there was nothing to do for Jasmine Paolini against Simona Halep. The seeded number 1 dismissed the blue wild card 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 24 minutes of play. For the Romanian it was an excellent test to evaluate her state of form, she who had decided not to go to the United States for the US Open.
Decisive in negative the shortcomings of Jasmine in the service (only two rounds of serving defended out of ten). "I was a bit tense at first" - admitted Simona. “To tell you the truth, I struggled to find the rhythm and relax throughout the match.
The first round of a tournament is always difficult and she played really well. His forehand was tricky and so was his backhand. It is not easy when you meet an opponent for the first time. I am happy to have won, even if with difficulty ”- added Halep at the press conference.
In the rest of today's program, Belinda Bencic has left the scene, paying dearly for a bad day by scrapping together just four games against Danka Kovinic. Instead, the very good moment of Elise Mertens, executioner of Magda Linette continues with a quick 6-2 6-4.