Italian Open 2015: Daily Scores, Results and Rome Masters Draw ScheduleMay 10, 2015
Italian Open 2015: Daily Scores, Results and Rome Masters Draw Schedule
The ATP Tour and WTA touch down in the Italian capital this week, as tennis’ elite descend on Rome for 2015’s Italian Open.
After pulling out of last week’s Madrid Masters for some well-deserved rest, Novak Djokovic is back in action and looking to defend his title.
The world No. 1 has emerged victorious in three Rome Masters championships down the years, but he will have a tough task chalking up No. 4 with a talented field to negotiate.
Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in a thrilling final last time around, but the Spaniard, who has won the Italian Open seven times, will be motivated to get his title back and spurred on by an excellent performance in Madrid. Nadal will come in as fourth seed in the bottom half of the draw, which could set up a gripping semi-final against Roger Federer.
The Swiss star has struggled on clay this year—bowing out early in Madrid and Monte Carlo—but comes into the tournament with a point to prove.
Federer has won endless trophies in his time, but the Italian Open crown still eludes him.
On the women's side, Serena Williams is the prohibitive favorite as the two-time reigning champion. Until someone dethrones Williams, she's obviously the player to beat.
Maria Sharapova won the two years before Williams' current hold on the trophy and has really stepped up on clay in recent years. Perhaps Sharapova can bounce back from a semifinals loss to Svetlana Kuznetsova in Madrid.
Read on for daily scores, recaps and draw from what’s set to be a thrilling Rome Masters.
Italian Open 2015 Draw
For a full draw of the Italian Open, head to the ATP Tour’s official website by clicking here. For the women's draw, visit WTATennis.com.
Day 8 Recap
No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 2 Roger Federer: 6-4, 6-3
No. 3 Maria Sharapova def. No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro: 4-6, 7-5, 6-1
Novak Djokovic stretched his unbeaten streak to 22 matches with a comfortable win over Roger Federer, beating his Swiss rival in two sets.
The Serb only ever faced one break point―which he dealt with expertly―and dominated proceedings from the baseline, as shared by Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times:
Staggering stat: Djokovic leading Federer in baseline points won by margin of 30-12. He takes a commanding 6-4, 3-0 lead.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 17, 2015
Federer's serve gave him a powerful weapon over Djokovic, hitting seven aces, but the World No. 1 dominated every time he was able to step into the court on returns. The Djoker appears to have adapted very quickly to the clay surface, and he moved extremely well in the rallies, a positive sign with Roland Garros on the horizon.
The French Open remains the only Grand Slam Djokovic has never won, and his chances of finally achieving that feat look excellent in 2015. Rafael Nadal is still struggling with his form, and while the likes of Stan Wawrinka are excellent players, they're no match for the Serb when he plays his best tennis.
Federer was far from his best on Sunday, but when Djokovic can set his feet and be comfortable from the baseline, it hardly matters. The Serb is on an incredible unbeaten streak for a reason, and it would be unwise to bet against him finally winning his first French Open in 2015.
Maria Sharapova needed to build momentum heading into the French Open next week. It's safe to say her performance at the Italian Open counts as an unqualified success, weathering a slow start to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro in three sets for her second title of 2015.
The 28-year-old started to show signs of improvement at the Madrid Open last week before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals. This victory marks the final necessary step as Sharapova looks to win her third career title at Roland Garros.
Coming into the match with Suarez Navarro, Sharapova knew she was going to be in for a fight, via WTATennis.com:
She loves this surface. She grew up on clay. I've beaten her the last couple of times, but I've had losses against her too. I know what a difficult player she can be, and she seems like she's playing with a lot of confidence right now, especially after her win in the semifinals today.
She has one of the best one-handed backhands on the tour. It's going to be a tough final.
Early on, it appeared Sharapova was going to be outclassed by Suarez Navarro. The No. 10 seed won 76 percent of her second serves in the opening set and was helped by two double-faults by Sharapova.
After the slow start, Sharapova found another gear. She saved seven of 10 break points and won the last six games in the final set to secure her third career win in Rome.
Day 7 Recap
No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 7 David Ferrer: 6-4, 6-4
No. 2 Roger Federer def. No. 8 Stan Wawrinka: 6-4, 6-2
No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro def. No. 2 Simona Halep; 2-6, 6-3, 7-5
No. 3 Maria Sharapova def. Daria Gavrilova: 7-5, 6-3
Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to 21 matches by beating David Ferrer in straight sets on Saturday, and the Serb will now play for the chance to win the Italian Open for the fourth time.
The Djoker has been in sensational form all season long and impressed against clay specialist Ferrer, who simply couldn't hang with with his opponent in the rallies. Djokovic hit a total of 26 winners and twice battled himself out of tricky situations, avoiding a crucial break in the 10th game.
As shared by Internazionali Bnl, he was more than satisfied with his performance:
#Djokovic: "definitely the best match I did so far" #ibi15 pic.twitter.com/cBQ7OVwvON— Internazionali Bnl (@InteBNLdItalia) May 16, 2015
Djokovic will now play in his sixth final in Rome on Sunday, renewing his rivalry with Roger Federer, who beat compatriot Stan Wawrinka with ease.
Federer won over 80 percent of points on his first serve, looked dominant at the net and forced Wawrinka into numerous errors, showing his form and brilliance on clay. Djokovic has held the upper hand against Federer in recent years, but he's never been a clay specialist and will face a serious challenge on Sunday.
Interestingly enough, the last man to beat Djokovic was Federer himself, in Dubai back in February.
Maria Sharapova survived a stern test from qualifier Daria Gavrilova in the first set to book her ticket for the women's final, winning 7-5, 6-3.
Gavrilova looked nervous in the first set and struggled with her serve, but she managed to hold it together in the longer rallies and take full advantage of some sloppy play from Sharapova. The title favourite started playing more attacking tennis in the second set, however, and her challenger never found an answer.
Carla Suarez Navarro reached the Italian Open final after coming from a set down to beat second seed Simona Halep in three sets.
Halep put up a real fight, saving six set points in the second set and two match points in the third, but the 26-year-old from Spain held her nerve to see out the victory.
The victory is Suarez Navarro's fourth in four matches against Halep on clay.
Day 6 Recap
No. 7 David Ferrer def. David Goffin; 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
No. 2 Roger Federer def. No. 6 Tomas Berdych; 6-3, 6-3
No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 5 Kei Nishikori: 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
No. 8 Stan Wawrinka def. No. 4 Rafael Nadal: 7-6 (7), 6-2
No. 2 Simona Halep def. Alexandra Dulgheru; 6-1, 6-0
No. 4 Petra Kvitova def. No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro: 6-3, 6-2
Daria Gavrilova def. Christina McHale: 6-2, 6-4
No. 3 Maria Sharapova def. Victoria Azarenka: 6-3, 6-2
Women's 3rd Round
Victoria Azarenka def. Irina-Camelia Begu; 6-4, 5-7, 6-1
Roger Federer extended his head-to-head record against sixth seed Tomas Berdych to 14-6 as he swept the Czech aside in a straightforward 6-3, 6-3 victory on Friday.
As the New York Times' Ben Rothenberg noted on Twitter, Berdych started well but Federer quickly responded to dominate the first set: "After early break by Berdych, it's all Federer, reeling off four straight games to take first set 6-3. Won 100%(!) of first serve points."
Federer was equally dominant in the second set, with Berdych failing to create a single break point. Victory was a significant one for the veteran:
Emphatic win for Roger Fededer over Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 6-3. Just his second top-10 win on clay in three years (Djokovic Monte Carlo 2014).— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 15, 2015
The Swiss star will face Stanislas Wawrinka in the semi-final, and his compatriot is already looking forward to the challenge, per journalist Simon Haring:
«See you tomorrow, Roger», writes #Wawrinka on the camera lens. #Federer pic.twitter.com/Kx8aZUPSDK— Simon Häring (@_shaering) May 15, 2015
Wawrinka defeated Rafael Nadal in two sets, marking the first time the Spaniard will head for Roland Garros without winning a single title on European clay.
Nadal is still working toward his best form and imploded after losing the tie break in the first set, hitting countless unforced errors to all but gift Wawrinka the win.
David Ferrer needed three sets as he took on David Goffin, but the 2010 finalist in Rome saw out the win to set up his own semi-final clash with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic wasn't at his best against Kei Nishikori and needed three sets to book his spot in the next round. The Djoker managed fewer winners than his Japanese opponent but did a good job from the baseline, forcing Nishikori into countless errors in the final set.
The Serb is still adapting to the clay surface, and a meeting with specialist Ferrer will be a good indicator of where Djokovic stands as we head toward Roland Garros.
In the women's draw, world No. 2 Simona Halep cruised to the semi-finals, dropping just one game in her 6-0, 6-1 win over compatriot Alexandra Dulgheru.
Halep saved five break points in the second set as she took a mere 56 minutes to progress to the final four. Maria Sharapova had an equally comfortable afternoon, taking care of business against Victoria Azarenka in two short sets.
Day 5 Recap
Men's 3rd Round
(4) Rafael Nadal beats (16) John Isner: 6-4, 6-4
(2) Roger Federer beats (12) Kevin Anderson: 6-3, 7-5
(8) Stanislas Wawrinka beats Dominic Thiem: 7-6 (3), 6-4
(7) David Ferrer beats Guillermo Garcia-Lopez: 6-1, 6-3
(1) Novak Djokovic beats Thomaz Bellucci: 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
(5) Kei Nishikori beats Viktor Troicki: 6-4, 6-3
(6) Tomas Berdych beats Fabio Fognini: 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (2)
David Goffin beats (3) Andy Murray: walkover
Women's 3rd Round
(4) Petra Kvitova beats (16) Jelena Jankovic: 6-3, 6-2
(10) Carla Suarez Navarro beats (6) Eugenie Bouchard: 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-6 (7)
Daria Gavrilova beats Timea Bacsinszky: 6-4, 7-6 (0)
Alexandra Dulgheru beats (8) Ekaterina Makarova: 6-4, 6-3
(3) Maria Sharapova beats Bojana Jovanovski: 6-3, 6-3
(2) Simona Halep beats (14) Venus Williams: 6-2, 6-1
Christina McHale beats (1) Serena Williams: walkover
Serena Williams withdrew from the Italian Open on Thursday with a reported elbow problem, according to BBC Sport.
News of the American's omission came before her scheduled match with compatriot Christina McHale. Encouragingly, according to the aforementioned piece, it's not an issue that will prevent Serena from going in search of her 20th Grand Slam title at the French Open later this month.
Andy Murray also pulled out on Day 5, citing fatigue as his reason for withdrawing. Ed Aarons of the Guardian confirmed the news of the Scot's decision:
Andy Murray pulls out of Italian Open citing fatigue— Ed Aarons (@ed_aarons) May 14, 2015
As noted in a separate piece in the Guardian, the two-time Grand Slam winner stated in a press conference that "it didn't make sense for me to continue to compete."
Having won back-to-back titles on clay in Munich and Madrid, Murray was looking in great shape to progress far in another tournament in the buildup to the French Open. The third seed was set to tackle David Goffin in Round 3 in Rome, but the Belgian will now be handed a bye instead.
With Roland Garros looming, Murray clearly didn't want to exacerbate any issues he may have. It's clear he's in phenomenal touch at the moment and will be desperate to showcase that sparkling form once again when he takes to the clay in Paris later this month.
One man who felt the full force of the Scot's recent form was Rafael Nadal, whom Murray blew away in the final of the Madrid Masters. But the Spaniard is making steady progress at this competition and dispatched American John Isner 6-4, 6-4 to progress into Round 4.
As the statistics show, via Tennis TV, it was a nearly impeccable display from the Spaniard:
'Nadal's best performance this season on a clay court,' says @RobKoenigTennis. The stats. http://t.co/kRsZ9udpkC pic.twitter.com/BlnXvePWrJ— TennisTV (@TennisTV) May 14, 2015
While Isner is always going to pick up points on his thunderous first serve, Nadal was quick to react to any lapses from the 16th seed. Given he made just three unforced errors in the match, there are signs the Spaniard is edging back to his best with his favourite major tournament approaching.
Roger Federer is also through, as he beat the talented Kevin Anderson in straight sets.
The Swiss—seeded second here—showcased his class in the first stanza, running out a comfortable 6-3 victor. Anderson clung on in the match, to his credit, making his illustrious opponent work hard in the second, but Federer simply had too much and nicked the set, 7-5.
As Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times noted, Federer nearly let this one slip:
Roger Federer into Rome QFs with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Kevin Anderson, after letting a 5-2 lead slip in the second. Awaits Berdych/Fognini.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 14, 2015
Stanislas Wawrinka is also safely through after beating Dominic Thiem. The Swiss was too good in a 7-6(3), 6-4 victory and will face Nadal in what looks set to be an enthralling quarter-final tussle.
Novak Djokovic received a scare from Thomaz Bellucci. The Brazilian saved all three break points he faced and won the only one he earned to take the first set. The world's top-ranked player rebounded nicely, however, winning the next two sets comfortably.
Seventh seed David Ferrer also picked up an easy win in an all-Spanish clash with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych also advanced.
In the women's draw, second seed Simona Halep made her way through to the quarter-finals with a convincing win over Venus Williams. The Romanian was dominant throughout her match against her American opponent, completing a sharp 6-2, 6-1 victory.
Maria Sharapova is also through to the quarter-finals, breezing past Bojana Jovanovski 6-3, 6-3. Petra Kvitova will join an illustrious last-eight lineup, as she also won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, against Jelena Jankovic.
As Kevin Fischer of WTA noted, the race to secure the No. 2 world ranking is really beginning to heat up:
#WTA Ranking Watch: Halep, Sharapova (needs at least Final) and Kvitova (needs title) competing for No.2 ranking at @InteBNLdItalia— Kevin Fischer (@Kfish_WTA) May 14, 2015
Carla Suarez Navarro, Daria Gavrilova and Alexandra Dulgheru also secured safe passage into the quarters.
With Williams out of the competition, this tournament suddenly looks wide-open and will be vital to those competitors desperate to build momentum prior to the French Open.
Day 4 Recap
Men's 2nd Round
(3) Andy Murray def. Jeremy Chardy: 6-4, 6-3
Guillermo Garcia Lopez def. Alexandr Dolgopolov: 6-4, 6-3
(16) John Isner def. Leonardo Mayer: 7-6(6), 6-4
(5) Kei Nishikori def. Jiri Vesely: 7-6(3), 7-5
(4) Rafael Nadal def. Marsel Ilhan: 6-2, 6-0
Thomaz Bellucci def. (14) Roberto Bautista Agut: 1-6, 6-1, 6-4
Dominic Thiem def. (12) Gilles Simon: 7-6(5), 2-0 (Retired)
Fabio Fognini def. (10) Grigor Dimitrov: 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-0
(2) Roger Federer def. Pablo Cuevas: 7-6(3), 6-4
Viktor Troicki def. (11) Feliciano Lopez: 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3
David Goffin def. (13) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
Women's 2nd Round
(2) Simona Halep def. Alison Riske: 6-3, 6-0
Bojana Jovanovski def. (15) Madison Keys: 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
Daria Gavrilova def. (7) Ana Ivanovic: 5-7, 7-6(2), 7-6(7)
(8) Ekaterina Makarova def. Kristina Mladenovic: 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
Christina McHale def. (13) Sara Errani: 6-4, 6-4
Alexandra Dulgheru def. (12) Lucie Safarova: 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(6)
(6) Eugenie Bouchard def. Zarina Diyas: 6-3, 6-4
Victoria Azarenka def. (5) Caroline Wozniacki: 6-4, 7-6(2)
(14) Venus Williams def. Elina Svitolina: 6-4, 6-3
Irina-Camelia Begu def. (9) Angelique Kerber: 6-3, 6-3
(10) Carla Suarez Navarro def. Heather Watson: 6-1, 6-1
(4) Petra Kvitova def. Karin Knapp: 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(1)
(16) Jelena Jankovic def. Magdalena Rybarikova: 6-4, 7-6(2)
Roger Federer began the search for his maiden Italian Open title on Wednesday with a straight-sets victory over Pablo Cuevas, defeating the Uruguayan 7-6(3) 6-4.
Despite Cuevas' fairly understated billing, the South American gave his opponent a run for his money not all might have expected, but Federer showed touches of class in all the right places to overcome.
Cuevas showed his own pedigree in the fact there was only one break throughout the entire match, as pointed out by Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times:
Tough test for Roger Federer in his opening match in Rome but he survives an in-form Pablo Cuevas 7-6, 6-4. Just one break in the match.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 13, 2015
Both competitors held their own in equal measure, but after enjoying a bye in the first round, this served as a solid, if not sensational, start from No. 2 seed Federer.
Earlier in the day, Andy Murray won a 10th consecutive match on clay as he beat Jeremy Chardy in straight sets to advance to the third round.
Following back-to-back tournament wins in Munich and Madrid—his first ever on clay—Murray came to Rome in impressive form and dispatched Frenchman Chardy 6-4, 6-3 in 84 minutes.
The opening exchanges between the pair were of impressive quality, Murray showing some beautiful touches but Chardy more than holding his own. Indeed, Chardy had the first chance to break as he went 15-40 up in the sixth game, only for Murray to charge back, hold his serve, then break his opponent for 4-3.
Two more service holds for the Scot, the world No. 3, handed him the opening set, the winning shot an emphatic drive down the line.
Murray again took an early advantage in the second set. He broke for 3-2 up in the fifth game thanks to some beautiful hitting, including a devastating running cross-court forehand for 0-30. From there he never really looked in any trouble on his serve, while Chardy struggled against Murray's consistent quality.
Murray eventually won out with a second break and a 6-3 win in the second set, and he eases through to the next round.
Rafael Nadal, Murray's victim in the Madrid final on Sunday, also breezed through his second-round match, easily beating Turkey's Marsel Ilhan. The Spaniard led 5-1 in no time in the first set and had set points before Ilhan fought back to get a second game on the board.
However, a routine service hold saw the Spaniard establish his authority, and he never let the momentum go. He won all six games in the second set to wrap up an easy win and will face John Isner in the third round after the American beat Leonardo Mayer.
Kei Nishikori battled through in two sets against Jiri Vesely, the Japanese fighting back to win in more than two hours. That was before a series of seeded participants—No. 14 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 12 Gilles Simon, No. 11 Feliciano Lopez and No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov—each tumbled out against unseeded competition.
Wednesday's final fixture also saw Belgian contender David Goffin beat Jo Wilfried Tsonga over three sets in what was a memorable win, moving past the Frenchman with a 6-2 4-6 7-5 result.
In the women's draw, seventh-seed Ana Ivanovic was dumped out by 21-year-old Daria Gavrilova in a three-hour thriller, but the real shock came as Caroline Wozniacki was ousted by Victoria Azarenka.
A rampant 6-2 win in the first set laid a strong foundation for Azarenka's straight-sets victory, where Wozniacki lost to her opponent for the third time this season, each in straight sets.
British hopeful Heather Watson bowed out at the hands of No. 10 seed Carla Suarez Navarro, struggling to find any foothold against her Spanish opponent before losing 6-1 6-1.
Day 3 Recap
Men's 2nd Round
Kevin Anderson def. Philipp Kohlschreiber; 3-0 ret.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. Nicolas Almagro; 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3
Men's 1st Round
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez def. No. 9 Marin Cilic; 6-4, 6-3
No. 11 Feliciano Lopez def. Nick Kyrgios; 6-4, 7-6 (4)
Thomaz Bellucci def. Diego Schwartzman; 6-4, 4-3 ret.
Alexandr Dolgopolov def. Martin Klizan; 6-4, 6-1
No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka def. Juan Monaco; 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Viktor Troicki def. Bernard Tomic; 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4)
David Goffin def. Andrea Arnaboldi; 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
Roberto Bautista Agut def. Marcel Granollers; 6-1, 6-3
Women's 2nd Round
No. 3 Maria Sharapova def. Jarmila Gajdosova; 6-2, 3-1 ret.
Women's 1st Round
Kristina Mladenovic def. Monica Puig; 7-5, 6-2
No. 10 Carla Sanchez Navarro def. Mona Barthel; 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
Alexandra Dulgheru def. Misaki Doi; 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-3
Elina Svitolina def. Flavia Pennetta; 6-4, 6-2
Daria Gavrilova def. Belinda Bencic; 6-7 (2), 7-5, 6-2
Irina Begu def. Urszula Radwanska; 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Bojana Jovanovski def. Caroline Garcia; 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-2
Victoria Azarenka def. Lucie Hradecka; 7-5, 6-2, 6-1
Defending champion Novak Djokovic progressed to Round 3 of the Italian Open with a three-set win over Spain's Nicolas Almagro on Tuesday.
The world No. 1 was absent from the Madrid Open as he took three weeks off to rest, but was fairly comfortable in his 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory.
The Spaniard made a valiant effort to force the match to go the distance, winning five points in a row to take the second-set tiebreak, but normal service was resumed in the final set and the result was never in doubt.
Maria Sharapova also advanced to the third round after opponent Jarmila Gajdosova was forced to retire in the second set.
Sharapova was leading 6-2, 3-1 when Gajdosova had to call it a day after aggravating a shoulder injury when attempting a smash.
Seeded third in Rome, Sharapova reached the semi-finals in Madrid last week before losing to fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Ahead of the French Open, Sharapova was pleased to get another 53 minutes on court on clay and she is happy with her progress.
“I have to take my time and get into a groove, it’s been a while since I’ve played that many matches within a span of six days,” said Sharapova, per the WTA’s official website.
No. 10 seed Carla Sanchez Navarro made it through to the second round after overcoming Mona Barthel in three sets.
Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka kicked off her tournament in winning style, fending off a comeback to beat Lucie Hradecka in three sets.
In the men’s draw, last year’s U.S. Open champion, Marin Cilic, was knocked out after he lost in straight sets in the first round to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
But there were no such problems for fellow seeds Stanislas Wawrinka and Feliciano Lopez. Wawrinka recovered from dropping the opening set to battle past Juan Monaco, while Lopez beat rising star Nick Kyrgios in straight sets.
The most fiercely contested match of the round was won by Viktor Troicki, who beat Bernard Tomic in three sets, all of which required a tiebreak.
Day 2 Recap
Men's 1st Round
No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov def. Jerzy Janowicz; 6-3, 7-6 (4)
No. 12 Gilles Simon def. Jack Sock; 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3
No. 16 John Isner def. Joao Sousa; 7-5, 6-3
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Donald Young; 6-4, 6-1
Richard Gasquet def. Thomas Fabbiano; 6-1, 7-6 (0)
Fabio Fognini def. Steve Johnson; 7-6 (0), 6-3
Juan Monaco def. Dusan Lajovic; 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2
Dominic Thiem def. Simone Bolelli; 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5)
Pablo Cuevas def. Paolo Lorenzi; 6-3, 6-2
Marsel Ilhan def. Adrian Mannarino; 6-4, 6-1
Women's 1st Round
No. 9 Angelique Kerber def. Alize Corne; 6-2, 6-3
Timea Bacsinszky def. No. 11 Karolina Pliskova; 6-4, 6-0
No. 13 Sara Errani def. Daniela Hantuchova; 6-4, 7-6 (4)
No. 14 Venus Williams def. Katerina Siniakova; 6-2, 6-2
No. 15 Madison Keys def. Madison Brengle; 6-2, 6-4
Karin Knapp def. Francesca Schiavone; 6-4, 6-1
Heather Watson def. Roberta Vinci; 6-3, 6-1
Magdalena Rybarikova def. Nastassja Burnett; 6-3, 7-6 (5)
Zarina Diyas def. Tsvetana Pironkova; 7-5, 6-1
Alison Riske def. Varvara Lepchenko; 6-4, 6-3
Jarmila Gajdosova def. Elena Vesnina; 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (14)
Sabine Lisicki def. Sloane Stephens; 6-4, 6-1
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Samantha Stosur; 6-4, 7-5
Christina McHale def. Barbora Strycova; 7-6 (5), 6-1
In Monday's opening-round action, Grigor Dimitrov was the highest seed to take the courts in Rome. Although it was his first match of the tournament, the challenge was stiffer than usual when the 10th-seeded Dimitrov met gifted wild card Jerzy Janowicz.
Dimitrov was pushed to a second-set tiebreaker but won that 7-4 to close out Janowicz, a 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist.
The two other seeded players advanced to the next stage as well. While big-serving American John Isner took care of Joao Sousa in straight sets on the strength of 13 aces, Gilles Simon dropped the first frame to Jack Sock before rebounding to take a tiebreaker 7-2 and winning the third with relative ease at 6-3.
Simon and Sock both hit 54 percent of first serves in and won two-thirds of such rallies. The difference came in Simon's second-serve win percentage (63), as Sock managed to win just half those points.
Richard Gasquet has been among the elite in men's tennis in the past but entered the Italian Open unseeded.
The gifted Frenchman glided through the first set 6-1 against Thomas Fabbiano before entering a tiebreaker in what amounted to the final set—because Gasquet ripped off seven unanswered points.
Juan Monaco is hoping for a second clay final of the season, but will encounter a tough hurdle in Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round after getting past Dusan Lajovic in three sets.
"I know that Wawrinka is a very good player, but I think I can do a good performance tomorrow," said Monaco afterwards, per ATPWorldTour.com. "I try to play match by match. This is a great tournament, a Masters 1000, and that’s why I’ll try to play the best I can tomorrow against him."
Home crowd favorite Fabio Fognini blanked Steve Johnson in a first-set tiebreak and carried that momentum forward to finish Johnson 6-3 in the next set. Eight of the nine finals Fognini has made in his career have come on clay, and he'd love to make a magical run this week on his home soil.
Something similar may be more realistic to expect from women's 13th seed Sara Errani. She was a finalist in last year's tournament before falling to Serena Williams, and got off to an encouraging start Monday with a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Daniela Hantuchova.
It was probably good for Errani to face adversity in her opener. Having a bit of a letdown based on what happened last time around is understandable, but Errani persevered and prevailed without an extra set needed.
Other marquee women who advanced were ninth seed Angelique Kerber, Venus Williams and Madison Keys.
Among the surprises was an upset loss from 11th seed Karolina Pliskova, who Timea Bacsinszky bounced 6-4, 6-0. It's not as much of a shocker as it may appear, though, since the two are separated by just 12 positions in the WTA rankings at 12th and 24th respectively.
The most attention-grabbing result came from Jarmila Gajdosova's victory over qualifier Elena Vesnina. Gajdosova bounced back from losing the opening set 6-1 to win the second 6-2, finally finishing things with a 16-14 tiebreaker triumph.
No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic will be taking on Nicolas Almagro in a marquee match to headline Tuesday's slate. Djokovic's form is worth monitoring even early on leading up to the French Open, the only leg of the career Grand Slam he's missing on his resume.
Gasquet has a quick turnaround against seventh-seeded David Ferrer on Tuesday, but that seems like the match with the most upset potential. The fit Ferrer is a feisty clay player, though, so Gasquet will have to have his best tennis to avoid an early exit.
Serena Williams kicks off her bid for a third straight Italian Open title in a match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Tuesday as well. It will be interesting to see if Gajdosova has anything left in the tank ahead of her showdown with Maria Sharapova too.
Day 1 Recap
Men's 1st Round
(15) Kevin Anderson bt. Florian Mayer: 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (4)
Matteo Donati bt. Santiago Giraldo: 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
Leonardo Mayer bt. Federico Gaio: 6-3, 6-4
Jeremy Chardy bt. Lukas Rosol: 7-6(0), 6-4
Nicolas Almagro bt. Luca Vanni: 6-4, 6-3
Jiri Vesely bt. Ernests Gulbis: 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-3
In Sunday’s matches, Matteo Donati and Kevin Anderson booked their places in the second round, overcoming Santiago Giraldo and Florian Mayer, respectively.
Home favourite Donati fell a set down early on, with Giraldo taking the opener 6-2. All that succeeded in doing was springing the Italian into life, though, and he took the next two sets with minimal fuss to set up a second-round tie with sixth-seed Tomas Berdych.
The 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 triumph was nothing more than his tennis deserved, as he was completely dominant after waking up from his first-set disappointment.
Berdych, however, won’t let Donati get away with poor early play, and unless consistency returns, it could be a walk in the park for the Czech star.
Elsewhere, Anderson needed a deciding-set tiebreak to see off the attention of Mayer in a blockbuster encounter. The South African won the first set courtesy of a tiebreak before Mayer hit back with a 6-4 in the second set after breaking the Anderson serve twice.
Both players then had big chances to edge in front in the decider, but solid service games at the back of the set brought the match into a tiebreak.
From then on, though, Anderson stepped it up a notch. He broke the Mayer serve twice to go 3-0 up, and despite dropping his next two service points, he broke again to lead 4-2.
The job was then a simple one for Anderson, who wrapped the tiebreak up 7-4 to claim a 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 triumph and book his place in Round 2.
Aside from the South African, Jeremy Chardy, Leonardo Mayer and Nicolas Almagro were all confident, straight-set winners. Jiri Vesely also made it through, but Ernests Gulbis pushed him hard in a thrilling three-set encounter.