A three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova is through to the second round after a great battle versus the 16th seed Ashleigh Barty, beating the Aussie 7-5 3-6 6-2 in two hours and 30 minutes! We saw almost 200 points in this interesting encounter and it was the Russian who emerged as a winner after saving 11 out of 14 break points, stealing Barty's serve five times to overpower her in the deciding set and move to the next round.
maria earned the first break in game three and she served well until 5-4 when she had a chance to close the opener. Out of sudden, Ashleigh broke back at love to level the score at 5-5 and extend the set, only to lose serve again in game 11 and allow Sharapova to seize the set with a hold at 15 a few minutes later.
The second set offered 13 break chances and it was Barty who saved four out of five to stay in contention, digging deep on the return to score breaks in games two and six that gave her a 4-2 advantage. She saved three break points in the following game and the set was in her hands after a hold in game nine, sending the match into a decider.
Both players saved three break points in each of the second and third games before Sharapova broke for a 3-1 lead, moving closer to the finish line and cementing her triumph with another break in game eight. The 14th seed Daria Kasatkina is off to a strong start after a 6-0 6-4 triumph over a qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic in 73 minutes. Daria served at 82% and she lost serve just twice while breaking Ajla six times after winning almost 60% of the return points to keep the shots on her racquet.
Tomljanovic couldn't find her range in the opening set and she lost the first eight games of the match, trailing a set and a break before she finally started to play better, breaking Daria twice in a row in the middle of the set.
Unfortunately for her, the Russian followed that pace with her breaks in games five and seven, closing the match with two comfortable holds for the place in the second round. First round results: