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MX News Update 2024


Osaka wins opener at Italian Open, Darderi beats Shapovalov

ROME – Naomi Osaka looked comfortable in her opening match at the Italian Open, beating 45th seed Clara Burel 7-6 (2), 6-1 on Wednesday.

It was Osaka’s first win over a top-50 player on clay since beating Victoria Azarenka at the 2019 French Open.

Osaka was proud of the way she maintained her mental focus after dropping her serve while serving for the first set at 5-3.

“It’s something I’m really proud of that I’m able to stick with and finally close on my terms,” she said.

It is also the first time Osaka has played in Rome since 2019, when they reached the quarterfinals.

Osaka, who was previously ranked first but is now ranked 173rd after a maternity break, served eight aces and produced 27 winners to her opponent’s 10. She will next face 19th seed Marta Kostyuk, who reached the final of a clay-court tournament. event in Stuttgart, Germany, recently.

Qualifier Bernarda Pera also defeated compatriot Caroline Dolehide 7-6 (6), 6-3 and will next face top-ranked Iga Swiatek; Magda Linette defeated Zhu Lin 6-3, 6-2; Brenda Fruhvirtova got past Taylor Townsend 3-6, 6-2, 6-0; and Lesia Tsurenko eliminated Donna Vekic 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5).

On the men’s side, Argentina-born Italian Luciano Darderi received strong crowd support in a 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over Denis Shapovalov at Campo Centrale; Brazilian qualifier Thiago Monteiro eliminated Gael Monfils 6-2, 7-5; and Yoshihito Nishioka defeated Sebastian Ofner 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (4).

Several other matches were postponed due to rain.

Rafael Nadal, Rome’s record ten-time champion, opens against Belgian qualifier Zizou Bergs on Thursday.

Novak Djokovic, who is back in Rome after a month’s absence, is on the other half of Nadal’s draw. But Jannik Sinner in second and Carlos Alcaraz in third both withdrew due to injuries.

Former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini also withdrew, saying he was not ready to compete after a series of physical problems.

And the Italian federation announced that Camila Giorgi, an Italian who was once ranked No. 26 and won a WTA 1000 event in Montreal 2021, has retired.

Rome is the last major warm-up tournament before the French Open, which starts on May 26.