Upsets came fast and furious at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Thursday. The biggest of these was Victoria Azarenka’s punishing 6-0, 6-0 win over world no. 5 – the reigning Australian Open champion – Sofia Kenin in merely 61 minutes.
The former world no. 1 put 89% of her first serves winning a little over 74% points off her first serves. She hit 10 winners and had just the four unforced errors. In comparison, Kenin’s powerlessness on the court against her opponent yielded 11 winners and 22 unforced errors.
Azarenka finished the match with 57 points – nearly twice as much as Kenin’s 29 points. In her post-match press conference, discussing her result, Azarenka said, “I think my consistency was the key to the score-line.
I feel like I played really smart tennis today: I was able to use a lot of court, I was able to use a lot of different pace. So, I’m very happy with that. But the key was definitely being able to maintain the level that I started with”.
This is the Belarusian’s only second win over a top-10 player after her win against Karolina Pliskova in Stuttgart, in 2019. Azarenka will play against Russia’s Daria Kasatkina for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Russian took down the Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova 6-2, 6-3 in their second-round match. Slovenian Polona Hercog upset the fifth seed Kiki Bertens in their round-of-32 meeting. Hercog won in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 36 minutes.
She will play against Czech 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova for a spot in the last-eight. Vondrousova defeated the Netherlands’ qualifier Arantxa Rus 6-3, 6-3. Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putinsteva upset the eighth-seeded Croat Petra Martic in their round-of-32 encounter.
Putinsteva needed three hours to notch a 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4 win over her higher-ranked opponent. Putinsteva will play compatriot Elena Rybakina in the pre-quarters. The last upset of the day came courtesy of Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The Russian, a two-time former finalist at the event, posted a comeback win for the second consecutive day over 14th seed Anett Kontaveit. Kuznetsova won 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and 45 minutes. She will play fourth seed Elina Svitolina next.
Internazionali BNL d'Italia: Garbine Muguruza outlasts Coco Gauff
Seventh seed Johanna Konta and ninth seed Garbine Muguruza evaded the barrage of upsets to advance in the draw. Their reward is a face-off for a place in the pre-quarters.
Konta defeated Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 6-0, 6-4 in their second-round clash in an hour and 23 minutes. The 2016 French Open champion, however, had a lengthier tussle against teenager Coco Gauff in their round-of-32 match.
Muguruza needed two hours and 23 minutes to claim a 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 win over the American. In her presser after the match, Muguruza spoke about Gauff. She said, “I don't look at her as a different player. She's here and she's playing, and it doesn't matter how old she is.
She a great competitor and she can play very well, as she's proven to us”. Muguruza and Konta’s upcoming match-up at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia will be the fifth time they will be playing against each other.
The two have evenly split their four previous matches, with Muguruza winning their last clash at the 2019 Australian Open. Photo Credit: Internazionali BNL d'Italia Twitter