Gar­bine in­stalls her­self as favourite

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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.

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