Rome Wednesday: Star-Studded Day
Published May 13, 2014 12:13
ROME, Italy - World No.1 Serena Williams takes on former Top 10 player Andrea Petkovic and Jelena Jankovic plays the recently resurgent Svetlana Kuznetsova for the 13th time at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
Wednesday, Second Round
 Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. Andrea Petkovic (GER #28)
Head-to-head: Williams leads 2-0
Serena Williams has played this event 12 times previously and has only lost her opener once, against Patty Schnyder in 2009. And en route to her second Rome title last year, she surrendered just 14 games all week. However, she is nursing a left thigh injury that forced her to withdraw before her quarterfinal match last week in Madrid. And second round opponent Andrea Petkovic has had success against her at this venue, extending her to a third set in the third round 2010.
After capturing the biggest WTA title of her career in Charleston in April and then winning a big Fed Cup match for Germany against Australia, Petkovic lost in the first round in Stuttgart and Madrid before getting back on the winning track by beating Romina Oprandi easily in her Rome opener. She is looking for her 10th Top 10 win and fourth over a Top 5 player. She already has one victory over a World No.1, having upended Caroline Wozniacki at Miami in 2011.
 Jelena Jankovic (SRB #8) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #29)
Head-to-head: Tied 6-6
Jelena Jankovic's head-to-head with Svetlana Kuznetsova is about as close as it gets, with no player having won more than two matches in a row and with them having split their two Rome clashes. Jankovic has had plenty of success here in the past, with consecutive titles in 2007 and 2008 and a runner-up showing in 2010. Kuznetsova is a two-time runner-up but had lost four straight matches here until defeating Maria Kirilenko in the first round on Monday.
Both players are trying to put tough second round losses last week in Madrid behind them. Jankovic had a 4-1 third set lead against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before the Russian rallied to victory, and Kuznetsova had three match points in the third set tie-break against Agnieszka Radwanska but was unable to hold on.
 Simona Halep (ROU #5) vs. Madison Keys (USA #47)
Head-to-head: Keys leads 1-0
Simona Halep's incredible run of success the past 12 months began here, as she went from qualifying all the way to her first Premier semifinal, and since then has seen her ranking go from No.64 to No.5. She also has gone 61-15 in WTA main draw matches going back to last year's run in Rome while collecting seven WTA titles. She is coming off a runner-up showing Madrid, where she lost to Maria Sharapova in three sets.
"I beat a few good players to make the semifinals here last year, and that gave me more confidence in myself and that's why I am in the Top 5 now," Halep said. "It's a bit of pressure because I have to defend all these points, but I did very well in Madrid last week and now I can be more relaxed and enjoy this tournament and play with beautiful memories. The first match will surely be tough tomorrow, but I will be on court and I hope to win."
Madison Keys is looking to win two straight matches for the first time since Miami, but she was triumphant in her one prior encounter with Halep in straight sets in Sydney earlier this year. She is seeking her second Top 5 win, having topped No.5 Li Na at Madrid in 2013.
Also on court...
Two-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova looks to continue her terrific play on clay this season against Monica Puig and fellow former Rome champ Venus Williams squares off with the WTA's 2014 match wins leader, Carla Suárez Navarro.
Read more details and stats about Wednesday's match-ups in our Match Notes.