And that’s it for Rome! The Internazionali BNL d’Italia concluded on Sunday as Serena Williams won her first title of 2016. I can’t believe that the French Open starts this time next week. Just to let you all know that my coverage for the French Open will be muted this year. I’m actually going on holiday in the middle of the tournament, which will be weird but i’m looking forward to a family holiday! I’ll be blogging non-stop though for all five weeks of the grass court season including pictures and live reports from Eastbourne and Wimbledon. Read on for Match Points from Rome..
Serena Williams won Rome for the fourth time, defeating Madison Keys in the final, 7-6(5) 6-3. Keys had started well, serving brilliantly to go up 3-1. However, the wind disrupted her rhythm with two consecutive double faults before she lost that early break. Serena kept lifting up on her forehand but the set meandered into a tiebreak. On the rally of the match, Keys unleashed a thunderous forehand down-the-line winner. However, Serena played a great point at 5-5 in the tiebreak to get Keys out wide and then finished with an excellent serve.
Serena scrapped her way to the early break in the second set, which was swiftly followed by the double break. The world number one stuttered twice on serve, but broke for the victory.
Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza won their fifth doubles title of the year but first since St. Petersburg in February, defeating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the Rome final, 6-1 6-7(5) 10-3.
Completed Singles Draw
Tennis worth catching up with…
Muguruza d. Bacsinszky (7-5 6-2, QF)
No doubt for me, the best WTA match of the week was the first of the quarter-finals. There was a nice contrast in styles between Muguruza and Bacsinszky which helped to produce high-quality tennis with some wonderful rallies.
Babos d. V.Williams (6-7(5) 7-5 6-4, R2)
The quality may have been dicey at times, but I loveedd this match. It was great to see such fighting qualities from both players, going hammer and tongs. While there were quite a few one-sided scorelines about, this was a great battle.
Kuznetsova d. Gavrilova (6-2 2-6 6-3, R3)
A cracking clay court battle on one of the most beautiful courts in the world.
Bouchard d. Kerber (6-1 5-7 7-5, R2)
The first two sets were an absolute mess but for the third set alone, the Bouchard-Kerber second round match deserves a mention. Bouchard showed a great deal of resilience to seal the win in the third set having led by a set and a double break during the second set.
Ivanovic d. Pavlyuchenkova (6-4 6-4, R1)
This was a decent opener for Ivanovic who continued her excellent record over Pavlyuchenkova, winning her 8th match against the Russian player. It was good match with many of the points being won rather than lost.
Tweets I liked
Garbiñe Muguruza was ON IT in her second round match against Ekaterina Makarova, dropping just one game.
Wednesday opened with a plethora of one-sided matches. Jelena Ostapenko didn’t drop a point behind her first serve in a 6-1 6-1 thrashing of Monica Puig.
Serena Williams was brilliant in her 6-2 6-0 quarter-final victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova… and the stats show this.
Johanna Konta was producing winners galore in her second round win over Roberta Vinci.
Funny moments and GIFs
Tough to beat this rally in the second set of Muguruza v Bacsinszky.
This was a great set point in the second set of Kerber-Bouchard. This final overhead was not easy!
This was a fantastic shot from Timea Babos to bag the second set against Venus Williams… Timea was pumped!
Here’s a nice angle of Key’s soaring backhand winner to set up set points in the first set tiebreak against Muguruza.
Loved this. You can hear Irina saying to Serena at the net “it was a pleasure”.
And there was great respect between Serena and Madison at the end of the final.
Press Conferences and Interviews
Victoria Azarenka sounded dejected in press… French Open in doubt?
Timea is awesome.
This makes sense from Garbiñe… I don’t think she’s far off her best, but the results and consistency haven’t been there so far this year.
Loved this interview with Lucie in preparation for the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.
This was a good read about Bouchard who was honest about her disastrous 2015 season.
Enjoyed this piece from Agnieszka Radwanska for The Strait Times explaining why she chose not to play Rome.
Loved the WTA Insider podcast this week including an interview with Barbora Strycova.
I thought I was going to hate this, but the No Challenges Remaining take on Eurovision with tennis songs was actually quite fun. I’ve got “Vamos Rafa” going through my head now…
Racket Rally: I’m losing interest fast to be honest with the lack of updates from the game. Bosiddon and Sergeus are the clear leaders in the Moo’s Tennis Blog league. To join RR or update your team, click HERE.
Tennis Draw Challenge: Congrats to panmich for winning WTA Rome. I was doing pretty well in the WTA draw until my choice of Kuznetsova over Williams came back to bite me! It’s a given… whenever I go against Serena, she always comes good. More details on how to join the league can be found HERE.