Defending champion Elina Svitolina eased into the third round of the WTA Italian Open as three-time winner Maria Sharapova needed a marathon three sets to get past Australian Ashleigh Barty.
Svitolina, the fourth seed, received a first round bye and dropped just three games in a dominant 6-1, 6-2 victory over 35th-ranked Petra Martic last night.
The 23-year-old Ukrainian won the biggest clay court title of her career last year at the Foro Italico. And she continued where she left off despite the rainy conditions, needing just over an hour to peg back her Croatian rival.
By contrast, Sharapova needed two and a half hours to master 18th-ranked Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in their first round match. Sharapova next meets Dominika Cibulkova in the second round.
Fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia advanced to the third round past China’s Zhang Shuai 6-2 7-5.
In the men’s event, Belgian ninth seed David Goffin was given a scare after leading 5-1 in the first set before losing six games in a row and dropping the first set to home hope Marco Cecchinato.
The Masters Open finalist got back on track by winning the next two 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the second round.
And Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov battled past Czech veteran Tomas Berdych 1-6, 6-3,7-6 (7/5), a week after becoming the youngest semi-finalist in Madrid.
The 19-year-old will become the new Canadian number one next week in place of Milos Raonic.
Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur took 64 minutes to get past Spain’s Fernando Verdasco to meet seven-time winner Rafael Nadal in the second round.