Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won her first match on the WTA Tour in her return back from injury at the Rome Open on Wednesday. The former world no. 11 defeated local wildcard, Sara Errani 6-1, 6-1 in 62 minutes in their opening-round clash.
Pavlyuchenkova, who had to miss a significant part of the 2022 season after having to deal with a problematic knee is currently ranked 506th in the world. The 31-year-old won her first-round match at the Mutua Madrid Open a couple of weeks ago before falling to eighth seed Daria Kasatkina in the second round.
Against Errani, the 2021 French Open runner-up won 84% of her first-serve points. She also won 72% points on return on the latter’s second serve. She didn’t face any breakpoint throughout the match and went on to convert five of seven breakpoints on the 2012 French Open finalist’ serve.
In the next round, Pavlyuchenkova will play world no. 1 and twice defending champion, Iga Swiatek.
Rome Open: Americans advance
Sloane Stephens also began her Rome Open quest successfully. The American who won the WTA 125k, Saint Malo Open last week, defeated 2021 French Open semi-finalist, Nadia Podoroska in their round-of-128 clash.
The American needed 82 minutes to wrap up a 6-4, 6-1 win. Both Stephens and Podoroska struggled to win second-serve points. Stephens won 38% of her second-serve points while the Argentine managed to win only 25%. However, the former US Open winner won 96% of her first-serve points that helped her get through without much problems.
Stephens saved one of the two breakpoints she faced while converting five break points on Podoroska’s serve. In the second round, Stephens will play 14th seed Victora Azarenka. Stephens’ fellow American, Taylor Townsend also moved into the second round of the Rome Open.
In an all-qualifier clash against Belgium’s Ysaline Bonaventure, Townsend needed two hours and nine minutes to post a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory. In the deciding set, Bonaventure serve for the match in the ninth game but was broken back.
A second break of her serve in the 11th game gave Townsend a chance to serve for the match, which she eventually did. Photo Credit: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Twitter