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Swiatek sweeps into last 16


ROME: Iga Swiatek cruised into the last 16 of the Italian Open on Sunday after thrashing Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-0, while Daniil Medvedev won his first ever match in Rome, 6-4, 6-2 against Emil Ruusuvuori.

Losing finalist in Madrid last weekend, Swiatek looked again in imperious form in the tournament she won last year before going on to blitz the French Open.

The 21-year-old is trying for her third straight Rome title and made light work of Tsurenko after a slightly bumpy start.

Swiatek lost the first two games but then rattled off 12 in a row in a powerful demonstration of why she is world number one and favourite for Roland Garros.

“I’m just trying to be consistent and trying to play my game. I treat every match as a final, I try to have the right mindset,” said Swiatek on court.

Swiatek now faces either Donna Vekic or Ljudmila Samsonova in the fourth round after extending her winning streak in the Italian capital to 13 matches.

Her bid for a Rome hat-trick will be helped by five of the world’s top 10 women players being eliminated early, world number eight Maria Sakkari the latest victim after she was beaten 7-5, 6-3 by Marketa Vondrousova.

Sakkari joins world number two Aryna Sabalenka, third-ranked Jessica Pegula, world number four Caroline Garcia and seventh ranked Ons Jabeur in being dumped out of the tournament.



In the men’s draw Medvedev came through in straight sets against Ruusuvuori to claim his first win at the Foro Italico courts.

The former US Open champion won a second round match which was postponed to Sunday due to the torrential rain which hit the Italian capital on Saturday.

In much balmier conditions the world number three was dominant on a clay court surface he is famous for not liking.

Few would back him to go deep in Rome but his performances on clay have improved, reaching the quarterfinals at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Medvedev will face Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the third round.

“Every time I come to a tournament I know I can play well, so I’m happy to finally get the win here in Rome,” said Medvedev.

“I want to win as many matches as possible, I know it can be a little bit trickier for me on clay but honestly this year I’m playing really well.

“The matches I lost I lost against great opponents who just played better than me... I’m just trying to play my best tennis until the end of the clay season.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on home hope Lorenzo Sonego after finishing off Nuno Borges 6-3, 6-3 in a match interrupted by Saturday’s rain with the world number five already well on his way to victory.



On Saturday, Carlos Alcaraz marked his return to the world number one spot by comfortably seeing off fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his first ever match at the Italian Open, as play was cut short by miserable wet weather.

In-form Alcaraz ensured top spot just by taking to the court to play his second round match in Rome as he seeks a third straight tournament win.

The 20-year-old, who saw off Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-1, will overtake Novak Djokovic as world number one and is assured of the top seeding at the French Open later this month.

He came through in a match which started several hours late due to the pelting rain which drenched the Italian capital.

“The conditions here weren’t easy, the rain, the waiting all day, not knowing if I was going to play or not. It was tough,” said Alcaraz.

He added: “For me it doesn’t change too much to be number one or number two seed. I just focus on the tournament and on my game.”

The Spaniard became the youngest ever world number one thanks to his US Open triumph last September, with Djokovic denied entry to the United States because of his Covid vaccination status.

Alcaraz will begin his 23rd week at world number one on May 22.

In the women’s section, Caroline Garcia became the fourth top 10 player to be dumped out after the world number four lost 6-4, 6-4 to outsider Camila Osorio. Qualifier Osorio almost broke down in tears after her shock straight sets victory in a match which started two hours late and was interrupted for more than an hour at the start of the second set. — AFP

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