Another busy day in Rome saw 16 become 8 with the quarter-finals of the 2018 Internazionali d’Italia all set. Thursday was bookended with three setters including another late night match on Court Centrale with Wozniacki-Sevastova going the distance. Friday’s line-up of quarter-final looks pretty stunning! Read on for nine stories from Thursday’s action in Rome.
Ostapenko d. Konta (Rome, R3)
Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the quarter-finals of Rome with a first win over Johanna Konta in a 2-6 6-3 6-4 come-from-behind victory. Ostapenko was very composed and restrained in the third set as she used depth and angles rather than full-out power, managing to hold onto her lone break of serve that she earnt at the start of the decider. There were no visible outbursts of emotion or negativity in what was a very solid performance.
It was Konta who had several disagreements with the umpire over calling her coach down and then a time violation. Konta missed a return on her only break point in the decider and then missed a volley at deuce having taken on board her coach’s advice to step in to take the second serve return. That was definitely a big missed opportunity. All in all, an encouraging week for Konta with back-to-back wins on the clay for the first time in two years (Rome, 2016).
Sharapova d. Gavrilova (Rome, R3)
Maria Sharapova made it back-to-back quarter-finals in Madrid and Rome and guaranteed a seeding at the French Open. Sharapova defeated Daria Gavrilova, 6-3 6-4. This was tough on Dasha after she finished at 2am with her incredible win over Garbiñe Muguruza. The Aussie gave it some welly but Sharapova was just too powerful and cute too with some fab drop shots. I didn’t like to see Gavrilova chucking her racquet all over the place including on match point. I hope she won’t do that again.
Garcia d. Stephens (Rome, R3)
Caroline Garcia overcame a late wobble and came good in the second set tiebreak where she saved a set point to beat Sloane Stephens, 6-1 7-6(7). Garcia was super sharp for a set and a half against a mostly lacklustre, Stephens who was flat in her footwork. Stephens reeled off nine straight points to claim a first break of the Garcia serve when the Frenchwoman stumbled serving for the match. The second set tiebreak was touch and go. Garcia’s serve held strong, as did the return as she nailed a return winner on match point.
Pre-Stuttgart, Garcia had a 10-8 W-L record. Post-Stuttgart, Garcia is at 9-2. The Frenchwoman has looked superb during the clay court season and a trio of tough three set wins in Stuttgart has seemingly played her way into form.
Wozniacki d. Sevastova (Rome, R3)
Caroline Wozniacki needed three sets to see off Anastasija Sevastova in the last match of the day, 6-2 5-7 6-3. Sevastova wasn’t at the races early doors but played much, much better in the second set including a peak game to break at 5-5. The drop shots were at times, spectacular. It was Sevastova’s first ever set against Wozniacki but she couldn’t double that as Wozniacki started to read the drop shots better and was generally more solid in the decider with Sevastova throwing in one tame service game. A sound win for Woz who hit 31 winners. In terms of going for her shots and being more aggressive, the Dane has come a long way. Sevastova can be absolutely delightful to watch at times, but also infuriating!
While I was working…
Anett Kontaveit secured another win over Venus Williams, this time in straight sets, 6-2 7-6(3).
Angelique Kerber dropped just two games in a 6-1 6-1 rout of Maria Sakkari in just 55 minutes.
Elina Svitolina rallied from a bagel opening set to beat Daria Kasatkina, 0-6 6-3 6-2. I was truly baffled watching the live scoreboard!
Aga out of RG
Agnieszka Radwanska is reportedly out of the French Open with a back injury. Sad news but not a shocker as Aga has clearly shifted her focus away from the clay in recent years. I hope she will be OK for the grass. To be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was her last year on tour.
Madrid press conferences
Really enjoyed this collation of moments from the press room last week in Madrid.
Louis Armstrong Stadium
The new second stadium at the US Open is looking fantastic! Check out @AMarshallSport on Twitter for more updates.
Looking forward to all four quarter-finals with match thoughts up on the separate page. Polls linked below…