Another big name fell early at the Italian Open as Ons Jabeur’s return from injury ended in a straight-sets defeat to Paula Badosa, but Maria Sakkari safely progressed.
Badosa applied pressure on Jabeur’s serve throughout, taking five of nine break points to clinch a 6-1 6-4 victory in 70 minutes.
Jabeur matched her opponent’s tally of three aces, and hit 21 winners to Badosa’s 15 but ended with two more unforced errors as her Rome title bid fell apart at the first hurdle.
“It was a really tough match, I really respect her,” Badosa said.
“We know each other a lot so I was aware of the drop shots. I’m really happy with my performance.”
The match marked Jabeur’s first competitive appearance since retiring from Stuttgart in April with a calf injury.
For Badosa, it was an encouraging sign as she notched her second win over a top-10 player in the space of two tournaments after knocking out Coco Gauff on her run to the last 16 of the Madrid Open.
The world no. 35 will next face Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk, the 32nd seed, who recorded a 6-0 6-4 win over American Claire Liu.
Ninth seed Sakkari is also safely through to the last 32 after earning a 6-1 6-3 win over Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.
But several more seeded players fell on Friday, with Jil Teichmann (26) losing to Julia Grabher in three sets and 18th-seeded home favourite Martina Trevisan suffering the same fate against Karolina Muchova.
Liudmila Samsonova made it through with a 6-3 6-3 win over Anett Kontaveit to set up a clash against Donna Vekic, who came from a set behind to defeat Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Read the full article here