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Kerber falls in Rome; Shapovalov and Rublev advance

Other Sports
Wed, 16 Sep 2020

ROME: Angelique Kerber was knocked out in the first round of the Italian Open in Rome yesterday in a 6-3 6-1 defeat to Czech Katerina Siniakova while Coco Gauf won her first ever match on clay.

Kerber, who reached the last-16 at the US Open, lasted only 69 minutes on the claycourt as Siniakova advanced in straight sets with five breaks of serve.

Kerber was almost bageled in the second set before she saved three match points to break for the first time in the contest but Siniakova broke back in the next game to seal victory.

American teenager Gauff, playing in her first ever main draw match on clay, came back from 4-2 down in the opening set to beat Tunisian Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-3.

Gauff suffered first-round exits at the two hardcourt events in New York but put those defeats behind her to move into the second round in Rome.

In the men’s draw Denis Shapovalov and Andrey Rublev cruised into the second round with emphatic straight sets victories.

Canadian 12th seed Shapovalov, who reached the US Open quarter-finals last week, shook off jet lag to beat Guido Pella 6-2 6-3, firing seven aces and 23 winners past the Argentine.

Ninth seed Rublev, making his debut at the Foro Italico, beat qualifier Facundo Bagnis 6-4 6-4 to book a spot in the second round where he will face Hubert Hurkacz.

Rublev also reached the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows last week and the 22-year-old Russian is looking to build on his stellar year having started the season with two hardcourt titles in Adelaide and Doha before the Covid-19 shutdown.

Alex de Minaur, another quarter-finalist at the U.S. Open, was knocked out by Dominik Koepfer with the German fighting back from a set down to win 3-6 6-3 7-6(5).

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