Wed, 30 Sep 2020

Mertens sails to first-round victory in Rome

Field Level Media
15 Sep 2020, 09:55 GMT+10

Elise Mertens was on the court for just 72 minutes Monday as she cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Hsieh Su-Wei in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

The 11th-seeded Belgian committed just nine unforced errors while hitting 17 winners in the easy victory on the clay surface.

The match was the first for Mertens since she reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals this month, losting to eventual finalist Victoria Azarenka. The U.S. Open is played on hard courts.

"I'm not sure how well I adapted, to be honest," Mertens said afterward of the surfaces in a press conference. "I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also her first match of the week, so that was a bit of an advantage for me. Going from hard to clay is a little difficult with the sliding and timing, but I tried to give everything I had today, tried to adapt where I could.

"The second set was definitely better than the first for me, but it wasn't my best game."

Hsieh connected for 11 winners but committed 22 unforced errors. The player from Taiwan also had eight double faults without scoring an ace.

No. 10 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan defeated Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-0, 6-4 in her opening match while 13th-seeded American Alison Riske and No. 16 Donna Vekic of Croatia dropped their matches.

Rybakina won the first nine games of her 62-minute match while dominating Alexandrova. She was doubly pleased with the performance after losing her last two meetings against Alexandrova, including the first-round of last month's Western Southern Open in New York.

"I am happy because I played against her already twice," Rybakina said. "It's a different surface, and of course I know how she plays. I had tactics before the match that I followed."

Spain's Aliona Bolsova outlasted Riske 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in a match that took 2 hours, 52 minutes. Riske had five aces but was hurt by seven double faults.

American Amanda Anisimova stunned Vekic, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6). Anisimova converted 70 percent of her first-serve points while Vekic's rate was just 48.9.

Italian wild-card Camila Giorgi went down in the opening set as Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska posted a 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-4 victory. Both players committed 14 double faults.

Poland's Magda Linette posted a 6-4, 6-3 win over Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko, and Italy's Jasmine Paolini registered a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Latvia's Anastasjia Sevastova.

Other first-round winners included Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, Anna Blinkova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, and the Czech Republic's Marie Bouzkova and Barbora Strycova.

--Field Level Media

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