Maria Sharapova among Russian quartet to advance in Rome

WTA Tour

Maria Sharapova, Daria Kasatkina, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Vesnina all reached the round two of the Italian Open.

Former world No 1 Sharapova appears to have turned the corner following poor form and injury problems after the Australian Open as she followed up her quarter-final run in Madrid with a first-round win on Tuesday.

The three-time Rome winner overcame a second-set wobble to beat Ashleigh Barty from Australia 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, and book a date with Dominika Cibulkova.

Fourteenth seed Kasatkina, a runner-up at the Indian Wells Masters in March, had no problems as she brushed aside Anja Tomljanovic from Australia 6-0, 6-4 to set up a clash against Danielle Collins, who beat Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Former Grand Slam winner Kuznetsova continues her recovery from injury as she eased past Polona Hercog with a 6-2, 6-4 victory. Next up is Anett Kontaveit

Vesnina earned herself a second-round encounter against Venus Williams as she claimed a 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 win over Germany’s Laura Siegemund.

Two-time major winner Angelique Kerber, though, flew the German flag high as she beat Zarina Diyas 6-2, 7-6 (8-6).

Madrid Open finalist Kiki Bertens couldn’t carry her form over to Rome as she was a first-round casualty, losing 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 against Maria Sakkari, who will face sixth seed Karolina Pliskova in the next round.