Top seed Simona Halep got past Italian Jessica Paolini in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Wednesday. The Romanian won in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 23 minutes. This is the first tournament for Halep since the tour resumed in late-July.
Earlier, she had withdrawn from the Palermo Open where she was the top seed. Later, she also announced that she would not be playing the Western and Southern Open and the US Open but would be making her return for the clay swing in Europe, beginning with Rome.
Despite the easy-looking score-line, the match wasn’t always smooth sailing for the world no. 2 who fell behind an early break in the first set before she changed it around and took the lead in the match. The second set featured multiple breaks of serve before the two-time former finalist in the Italian capital broke through decisively to make her way through to the pre-quarterfinals.
The two-time Major champion hit 14 winners to Paolini’s 11 and had 15 unforced errors to the Italian’s 25. She converted eight of the 10 break-point opportunities on Paolini’s serve while saving seven of the 12 break points she faced.
Halep will take on either Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska or American Amanda Anisimova in the round-of-16.
Internazionali BNL d'Italia: Danka Kovinic ousts Belinda Bencic
Among the other early result of the day, Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, who qualified into the main draw, upset the sixth seed Belinda Bencic in their round-of-32 clash.
Kovinic, who handed Julia Goerges a beatdown in the first round, was equally powerful against the Swiss, who received a bye into the second round. Kovinic lost just four games en route to claiming a 6-3, 6-1 win in just 71 minutes.
Kovinic hit 11 winners and 11 unforced errors to Bencic’s 14 winners and 25 unforced errors. She also saved the three break points she faced while converting four of the eight break-point chances she had on Bencic’s serve.
It was the world no. 86’s first win over a top-10 player. Belgium’s Elise Mertens will be taking on Danka Kovinic in the pre-quarter-finals of Internazionali BNL d'Italia. The 14th seed came through her second-round match against Poland’s Magda Linette. Mertens also won in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 43 minutes. Photo Credit: Simona Halep Twitter