WTA Rome: Ostapenko, Kerber and Svitolina march on. Mladenovic retires


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WTA Rome: Ostapenko, Kerber and Svitolina march on. Mladenovic retires

Defending Rome champion Elina Svitolina has made the third round after a commanding 6-1 6-2 win over Petra Martic, spending only 61 minutes on the court. The Ukrainian has scored just two wins in Stuttgart and Madrid and she seeks much better result in Rome, with 900 points to defend. This was their fourth meeting and the third straight win for Elina who lost just 16 points in eight service games, fending off two break points she faced to keep the pressure on the other side of the net.

Martic was nowhere near those numbers, losing more than 50% of the points in her games and suffering four breaks of serve from eight opportunities she gave to Svitolina. Elina had to save those two break points in her opening service games and she sailed through the rest of the match, clinching the opening set in just over 30 minutes with breaks in games two and six.

It was all about Svitolina in set number two as well, scoring breaks in games three and five before sealing the deal with a hold at love in game eight that propelled her into the third round. The 5th seed Jelena Ostapenko has won just 10 of the first 20 matches she played on the Tour this season and she has made a solid start in Rome, ousting Shuai Zhang 6-2 7-5 to join Svitolina in the third round. These two have never played before and Jelena needed just 69 minutes to bring the win home, despite serving at only 54%.

The Latvian saved three out of five break points and she won 52% of the return points, breaking Zhang on all five chances to control the result from start to finish and outplay her rival from the baseline. Jelena raced into a 4-0 lead with breaks in games one and three before Zhang reduced the deficit when she broke for the first time in game six.

That was all we saw from the Japanese in the opening set, dropping serve again in game seven and allowing Ostapenko to close it with a good hold in less than 30 minutes. Jelena moved a set and a break up with an instant break in set number two, looking good to seal the deal without any troubles, Nonetheless, Zhang broke back in game eight to level the score at 4-4 and she was a game away from taking the set after an easy hold in game nine.

Ostapenko stayed focused and she shifted into a higher gear to overpower her opponent, winning 12 of the last 13 points to reach the last 16 in style. Tuesday's results:

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