Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova got offto winning starts at the Rome Open on Tuesday, both squeakingthrough to the second round of the Premier-level event with hard-fought straight set wins. The No. 4 seed Kvitova was the first to advance, rallying from abreak down in both sets to edge one of her toughest rivals,Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 7-5, 6-4. The pair had split their four previous meetings with 2-2, and allfour of them had gone to three sets, but Kvitova broke her patternwith the Russian in Rome.
“I have to say I was nervous before the match,” Kvitova said. “Isaw how she was playing in her last match, and also I lost the lasttime I played her, which wasn’t a nice memory going into this one.It was tough for me at the beginning but I’m happy I won and I havethings to improve on for the next match.” Kvitova is hoping to find her form again in Rome this week, havingfallen early in Madrid last week. But her clay court season did getoff to a good start at another Premier-level event in Stuttgart,where she scored straight set wins over Francesca Schiavone andAngelique Kerber en route to the semifinals. “I played very well in Stuttgart,” Kvitova commented. “It wasstrange conditions in Madrid.
I wasn’t able to play my game againstHradecka, because all the points were only about one shot and shedid better that day. But so far here I’m feeling good and I’mlooking forward to playing more matches now.” Maria Sharapova, the No. 2 seed and defending champion, trailed inboth sets too, most notably a deep 4-1 hole in the first set, butmanaged to out-hit the tenacious Christina McHale in a two hour 12minute grinder 7-5, 7-5. “It was really about adjusting today,” Sharapova declared. Sierra Wireless Router
“I madetoo many unforced errors in the first part of the match and she wasplaying extremely consistently. Maybe I was trying to hit too manywinners then. But I was fortunate enough to win that first set andget back into it in the second set. “It was close. She has certainly improved since last time I playedher.” Sharapova has won 17 of her last 19 matches on clay, a stretch thatincludes two Premier-level titles, here last year and at Stuttgartearlier this year. Sierra Wireless Router Manufacturer
This title last year remains her biggest clay court triumph to date- and she has been trying to learn some of the home language fromfiance Sasha Vujacic. “I have a fiance who speaks good Italian, and he’s always tellingme what to say and how to pronounce it,” Sharapova said. “It’stough to learn it. I’m stubborn, and he tells me how to pronounceit. I can say dove vai, cosa fai, come stai, and also cosamangiamo. China Unlock Huawei Dongle
E andiamo… that’s very important in my life.” Next for Sharapova is No. 13 seed Ana Ivanovic or Spanish qualifierSilvia Soler-Espinosa; next for Kvitova will be Sofia Arvidsson orSorana Cirstea.