Grand Slam champions secure third round spots in Rome

Jelena Ostapenko plays a shot

Barbora Krejcikova and Jelena Ostapenko have added extra Grand Slam-winning quality to the third round of the Italian Open in Rome.

After just over an hour of play, World No 69 Danka Kovinic of Montenegro was forced to withdraw due to a lower back injury, leaving 2021 Roland Garros champion Krejcikova of the Czech Republic to march on in Rome.

Following Krejcikova’s five-game winning streak in the opening set, Kovinic took a medical timeout.

In the second set, Kovinic did win a service break to even the score at one-all, but Krejcikova then won three straight games before Kovinic cut her losses and pulled out.

Sorana Cirstea, the WTA 125 champion last week in Reus, had a six-match winning streak snapped by 2017 Roland Garros champion Ostapenko.

Ostapenko moved to 3-0 versus Cirstea with the 2-hour and 14-minute triumph. She had won their two previous matches, both battles on hard courts, in 2017.

The first two sets were tied, but the third set, while having an unassuming scoreline, had several thrilling moments. After forcing a mistake with a rally backhand, Ostapenko converted her fourth break point in that long game to break for a 2-0 lead.

After cruising out to 5-1, Ostapenko appeared to have easily won the match, but Cirstea saved six match points in a subsequent extended game before breaking to prolong the struggle. However, Ostapenko quickly collected herself and used her sixth match point to break Cirstea to secure the victory.

There were early exits from seeded players Elise Mertens (25), Ons Jabeur (4), Martina Trevisan (18), Ekaterina Alexandrova (15) and Jil Teichmann (26).

Earlier, Iga Swiatek and Maria Sakkari dominated, while No 32 seed Marta Kostyuk also looked in top form.

READ MORE: Imperious Iga Swiatek marches on in Rome
Italian Open results

Women’s singles

2nd rd

Iga Swiatek (POL x1) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0, 6-0
Donna Vekic (CRO x21) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Liudmila Samsonova (x16) bt Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6-3, 6-3
Maria Sakkari (GRE x9) bt Barbora Strycova (CZE) 6-1, 6-3
Anna Kalinskaya bt Elise Mertens (BEL x25) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Paula Badosa (ESP) bt Ons Jabeur (TUN x4) 6-1, 6-4
Marta Kostyuk (UKR x32) bt Claire Liu (USA) 6-0, 6-4
Karolina Muchova (CZE) bt Martina Trevisan (ITA x18) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Ekaterina Alexandrova (x15) 6-4, 6-2
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE x10) bt Danka Kovinic (MNE) 6-2, 4-1 – retired
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x20) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
Julia Grabher (AUT) bt Jil Teichmann (SUI x26) 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-3