The women’s draw of the 2014 Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome) serves up a marquee third round match-up as Maria Sharapova, fresh off back to back wins in Stuttgart and Madrid, will take on her opponent in the Stuttgart final, Ana Ivanovic. Ana started that match strong, just as Simona Halep did in the Madrid final against Masha, but ultimately Sharapova hit another gear and won in 3 sets. Both Ana and Masha won in straight sets in the 2nd round in Rome, but were tested at times. Ana squeezed by Alize Cornet in two tight sets, 7-6 (1) 7-5. Although Cornet is unseeded here, she has had a great 2014, already owning a tournament title not to mention a win over Serena Williams as well. This was a match where it would not have surprised me had Alize pulled off an upset of Ana. On the other hand, I would have been very surprised had Monica Puig toppled Masha. That Monica made things a bit tight in the second set was a suprise, however. But in the end, a 6-3 7-5 Sharapova victory gives the majority of tennis fans the third round showdown they want to see.
Unfortunately, Simona Halep withdrew from Rome with an abdominal injury after defeating Madison Keys, 5-7 6-0 6-1. With Roland Garros less than two weeks away, it’s best for Simona to receive the treatment she needs now rather than risk a greater injury that could jeopardize her chances in Paris. There was a silver lining to Halep’s day, besides her win. With the victory over Keys, Simona moved up to world #4. That’s very important. What a #4 ranking means is that she will have her own quarter in Roland Garros as one of the top 4 seeds (unless Roland Garros goes against the rankings). That will eliminate her having to face Serena Williams, Li Na or Agnieszka Radwanska before the semifinals, if Simona makes it that far.
SOME PICS FROM DAY 3 AND DAY 4
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE
BUT FIRST A PIC FROM ANA IVANOVIC IN SUPPORT OF THE KIDNAPPED NIGERIAN SCHOOLGIRLS
1 SERENA WILLIAMS (won 6-2 6-2 vs Andrea Petkovic)
3 AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA (won 6-3 6-2 vs Paula Ormaechea)
SIMONA HALEP (won 5-7 6-0 6-1 vs Madison Keys)
8 MARIA SHARAPOVA (won 6-3 7-5 vs Monica Puig)
11 ANA IVANOVIC (won 7-6 (1) 7-5 vs Alize Cornet)