Garbine installs herself as favourite
ROME: Garbine Muguruza emerged as a favourite to win the Italian Open after beating Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko to reach the third round after World No 1 Angeliquer Kerber had earlier bowed out to Estonian qualifier Anett Kontaveit.
Spaniard Garbine, the third seed, will need to sharpen up though after enduring a terrible start against 50th ranked teenager Jelena before the reigning French Open champion flicked the switch and won 2-6, 62, 6-1.
Fourth seed Dominika Cibulkova also fell to Russian Ekaterina Makarova 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 to leave the draw wide open.
American veteran Venus Williams proved more reliable with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.
Ninth seed Venus faces Britain’s Johanna Konta in the last 16 while Garbine faces Germany’s Julia Goerges.
Angelique’s defeat was perhaps not surprising as she suffered a hamstring injury in Madrid that forced her to pull out.
Not that Anett was concerned by her opponent’s woes.
“It’s my first time beating the No 1 in the world, so, you know, I’m super excited,” the World No 68 said.
Anett plays Croatian veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who progressed when wildcard and three-time former champion Maria Sharapova retired with an injured leg on Tuesday.
Garbine Muguruza is the third seed in the Italian Open.