WTA Rome: Lucie Safarova sends Italian wildcard Francesca Schiavone packing

Lucie Safarova began her Internazionali BNL d’Italia with success over Francesca Schiavone in routine fashion. The Czech needed an hour and ten minutes to send the Italian wildcard packing in the first round.

Safarova powers through to one-set advantage

Safarova took the court against Schiavone for the pair’s tenth career meeting with the 12th seed leading their series six wins to three. The Italian opened up the first round encounter on Center Court with a hold to love, and soon Schiavone arrived at a break point. But Safarova denied the home hope of an early break. The pair exchanged holds again to bring the set to two games apiece. Last year’s Roland Garros finalist grabbed the first break of the match before holding to 30 for a 4-2 edge.

The Czech and Italian exchanged holds yet again as Safarova found herself within a game of sealing the first set. Despite being down 40-15 in the ninth game, Safarova clinched a one-set lead after a Schiavone forehand went astray. The brilliant groundstrokes off the Czech’s racquet proved pivotal in the outcome of the enticing first set.

Francesca Schiavone in action in Rome. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Francesca Schiavone in action in Rome. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Czech reaches sixth second round in Rome

Safarova maintained her intense level of play to win her third straight game as she held to 30 to open the proceedings in the second set. The first break of the set game three games later when the 12th seed stepped ahead up a set and 3-1 before getting broken back in the following game. But the angles and craft from Safarova kept her in the driver’s seat as she dictated play by penetrating the court. The Czech’s forehand suddenly brought her within a game of the second round, and time seemed to have run out for the Italian veteran.

The Czech blistered a forehand return to Schiavone’s feet which forced the final error of the match. The J&T Banka Prague Open champion wrapped up her seventh career win over the Italian in 6-3, 6-2 style. The match concluded in just over an hour on Center Court in front of the wildcard’s home crowd. The in-form Safarova booked herself a match with a fellow lefty in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Lucie Safarova in action in Rome. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Lucie Safarova in action in Rome. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

World Number 15 to play Misaki Doi

Safarova will have an interesting challenge ahead of her in her second round match come Wednesday. Misaki Doi has challenged some of the game’s greats on the biggest stages, but her ability to handle pressure will be put to the test by Safarova’s power and placement. The battle of the left-handers will lie in the hands of the world number 15 as her recent form proves she can challenge any player she takes the court against.