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May 12, 2024 6:39 pm

Aryna Sabalenka, Danielle Collins moving on in Rome

danielle collins

Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari and Danielle Collins all skated into the Round of 16 of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia with straight-sets wins on Sunday in Rome.

Sabalenka, the second seed from Belarus, ousted No. 32 seed Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine 6-4, 6-2 in 86 minutes. Sabalenka saved both break points she faced and won 75.8 percent of her first-serve points (25 of 33) in order to defeat Yastremska for the first time in three career meetings.

Sabalenka expressed her love for Rome — lamenting that her sugar-free diet during tournaments prevents her from sampling the gelato. Sabalenka has advanced past the third round at Foro Italico just once before, when she was a 2022 semifinalist.

“Every time I was losing here, I was so sad,” Sabalenka said. “I felt like I lost on the Grand Slam because it was one of the dream tournaments for me to win. It’s still one of my dream tournaments.”

No. 5 seed Sakkari of Greece defeated Ukrainian No. 30 seed Anhelina Kalinina 7-6 (4), 6-0. Sakkari rallied from a 4-2 hole in the first-set tiebreaker, winning five straight points before dominating the second set.

No. 13 seed Collins kept her latest roll in a WTA 1000 event going by beating No. 22 seed Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-3 in 81 minutes. Collins had seven aces while overcoming eight double faults, and she won 82.8 percent of first-serve points (24 of 29).

“I feel like I match up well against (Garcia),” said Collins, who has won 17 of her last 18 matches. “We always have great matches, but something about the matchup works out very well for me. I played really aggressive from the beginning and was able to be consistent the entire way through.”

Collins, who is retiring at the end of the season, is playing some of the best tennis of her career; she was a quarterfinalist at the Qatar Open and won the Miami Open and Charleston Open before reaching the fourth round last month in Madrid.

Collins’ next opponent will be Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, who knocked out No. 27 seed Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-0 in a 78-minute match Sunday.

No. 9 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia overcame a dropped second set to defeat Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4, 5-7, 6-1. Her next foe will be Slovakia’s Rebecca Sramkova, who ousted Sofia Kenin 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

No. 24 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus got by Egypt’s Mayar Sherif 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 in a nearly three-hour affair. No. 16 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine defeated No. 23 Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 6-3, 6-3.

–Field Level Media

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