No.7 seed Danielle Collins powered past former World No.1 Simona Halep 7-6(1), 6-3 in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Wednesday.
2022 Australian Open finalist Collins improved to 2-1 lifetime against former Rome champion Halep after just over two hours of play. This marks Collins’s first trip to the Rome Round of 16 after two previous second-round losses.
Former champ ousted: Halep has made it into the Internazionali BNL d’Italia championship match three times, finishing as runner-up to Elina Svitolina in 2017 and 2018 before finally winning the title in 2020.
However, Collins did not let Halep’s record of excellence in Rome stop her from blasting her way to 38 winners in the match, more than triple Halep’s total of 12.
Collins went for broke on returns and was rewarded with six breaks of service out of nine break points. The American claimed 60 percent of points when returning the Halep second service.
Badosa makes winning debut: No.2 seed Paula Badosa of Spain joined Collins in the Round of 16 with an evening win of her own. Badosa took 1 hour and 17 minutes to ease past World No.50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-1.
Despite her lofty seeding, this was Badosa’s first career match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Following a first-round bye, the World No.3 emerged triumphant in her tournament debut, with 17 winners and a 75 percent success rate returning second serves.
After saving break point in the first game, Badosa went on a tear, leaping to a 5-0 lead. Things got tricky from there, as Badosa saw five set points come and go in that game, allowing Sasnovich on the board.
Badosa went on to miss out on two more set points as Sasnovich broke for 5-2. But Badosa got an eighth set point in the following game, which went in the Spaniard’s favor as Sasnovich let a forehand miscue fly long.
Badosa also needed four match points in the second set before she prevailed after another long Sasnovich forehand. Sasnovich had seven break points in the match but only converted one of those chances.
In the Round of 16, Badosa will face Daria Kasatkina, who defeated Leylah Fernandez via a third-set tiebreak on Wednesday. Badosa won their only previous meeting, which came on hard court in this year’s Sydney semifinals.
More to come…