It was a day of big seed upsets on the fourth day of the ATP and WTA Italian Open in Rome on Thursday.
Victoria Azarenka switched with ease from her impressive form on the hard court in the United States last week to clay in Rome sweeping past third Sofia Kenin 6-0, 6-0 to advance to the third round.
The US Open runner-up followed on from her straight sets win over Venus Williams in the first round at Foro Italico, dispatching Australian Open champion Kenin in just over an hour.
The 31-year-old former world number one, who won her first tournament since 2016 in Cincinatti, did not drop a game and faced no break points, hitting 57 winners against to the American’s 29.
“I think my consistency was the key to the scoreline, I think I used my serve smart today,” said Azarenka who next plays Russian Daria Kasatkina for a place in the quarter-finals.
Dutch fifth seed Kiki Bertens also exited in the second round to Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-4, 6-4. But ninth seed Garbine Muguruza dropped a set before rallying past 16-year-old American Cori Gauff 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3.
Former French Open champion Muguruza next plays Johanna Konta, the seventh seed, and a runner-up last season. The British player eased past Irina Begu of Romania 6-0, 6-4, with Czech 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova and Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova also advancing.
In the men’s tournament, France’s Gael Monfils, the fifth seed, lost his first match since the coronavirus lockdown, falling 6-2, 6-4 to 97th-ranked German Dominik Koepfer in a match which was interrupted for 45 minutes by an electricity cut.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori lost his second round match to Italian teen Lorenzo Musetti, ranked just 249th in the world.
The 18-year-old notched a 6-3, 6-4 against the 35th-ranked Nishikori, having already eliminated Swiss three-time Grand Slam Stan Wawrinka in the first round.
“This evening I won with my head. I played the important points well,” said the former junior Australian Open winner who next plays Koepfer.
Italy’s seventh seed, who didn’t play the hard-court tournaments in US either, was out in his first match, beaten 7-5, 7-6 (4) by Ugo Humbert. Andrey Rublev and Milos Raonic were the other men’s seeds to fall.
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-3, 6-4
Dominik Koepfer (GER) bt Gael Monfils (FRA x5) 6-2, 6-4
Casper Ruud (NOR) bt Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-3, 6-4
Ugo Humbert (FRA) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x7) 7-5, 7-6 (7/4)
Denis Shapovalov (CAN x12) bt Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-4, 6-4
Diego Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt John Millman (AUS) 6-4, 7-6 (7/1)
Hubert Hurkacz (POL) bt Andrey Rublev (RUS x9) 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-2
Dusan Lajovic (SRB) bt Milos Raonic (CAN x13) 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-2
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) bt Petra Martic (CRO x8) 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Sofia Kenin (USA x3) 6-0, 6-0
Darya Kasatkina (RUS) bt Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 6-2, 6-3
Garbine Muguruza (ESP x9) bt Cori Gauff (USA) 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3
Johanna Konta (GBR x7) bt Irina Begu (ROU) 6-0, 6-4
Polona Hercog (SLO) bt Kiki Bertens (NED x5) 6-4, 6-4
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE x12) bt Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-3, 6-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) bt Anett Kontaveit (EST x14) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
With AFP Inputs