In-form duo Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur power into next round at Italian Open

Pole aiming for fifth straight WTA triumph while Tunisian looks to build on historic Madrid victory

Ons Jabeur during her 7-5, 6-2 victory over Ajla Tomljanovic at the Italain Open on Wednesday, May 11. Getty
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In-form duo Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur both secured straight-sets victories in the second round of the Italian Open on Wednesday.

Swiatek is on course for a fifth straight WTA triumph after seeing off Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3, 6-0 in Rome, while Madrid Open winner Jabeur defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-2.

The 20-year-old Pole is in red-hot form after winning her last four tournaments and will be eyeing a second title at Roland Garros after winning there as a teenager in 2020.

Swiatek dropped just nine points in a second-set demolition of Ruse which highlighted the gulf between the two players and set-up a third-round match with Victoria Azarenka, who eased to a 6-2, 6-4 win over Colombia's Camila Osorio earlier in the day.

“I'm pretty proud I could get into the rhythm today, just take some lessons during the match and improve my game, game by game,” Swiatek said after her 24th consecutive victory.

“That was pretty solid match for me … I think she's playing really solid tennis. I could feel that today on my racquet, that she could really give back some strong hits.”

Tunisia's Jabeur, who became the first Arab or African player to secure a WTA 1000 crown when she defeated Jessica Pegula in Madrid, secured her eighth straight win thanks to victory against unseeded Australian Tomljanovic.

The second title of her singles career saw Jabeur move from No 10 in the world to a career-high seventh in the latest rankings.

Former champion Karolina Pliskova was dumped out after being beaten by Switzerland's Jil Teichmann 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Pliskova had made the previous three finals in Rome, winning the title in 2019, but the sixth seed lost to 24-year-old Teichmann in a battle which lasted two hours and 40 minutes.

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka strolled into the next round with a routine 6-2, 6-0 win over Zhang Shuai. Sabalenka will now take on Madrid finalist Pegula for a spot in the quarter-finals. Pegula received a walkover after Anhelina Kalinina withdrew due to an upper back injury.

American teenager Coco Gauff is also in the last 16 after beating countrywoman Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-4. She will now face Greece's Maria Sakkari after the No 4 seed kicked off her Rome campaign with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Madrid semi-finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova.

“I admire her because she's a great athlete,” Sakkari said of Gauff. “She's a wonderful girl, which for me is more important than anything else. The way she has handled her success, She was 15 when she broke through. It was very clever from herself and from the people around her the way they handled everything.”

Amanda Anisimova broke her second-round duck at the tournament with a hard-fought 7-6, 6-1 upset of No 12 seed Belinda Bencic. The American had lost in the second round in each of her previous three appearances in Rome but will now tackle unseeded 2020 champion Simona Halep or No 7 seed Danielle Collins in the next round.

Updated: May 11, 2022, 5:08 PM