ROME, Italy - The first three second round matches took place at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Tuesday, with two of the Top 8 seeds taking the court moving through but one of them crashing out.
Petra Kvitova, the No.8 seed, was the first of the favorites to play, suffering a mid-match letdown - she lost nine of 10 games after winning the first set to drop the second set at love and fall behind 3-1 in the third - but regrouping just in time to close Sabine Lisicki out in overtime in the decider, 64 06 75.
"In the beginning of the second set I hit a really easy ball into the net in the first game, and I think I was thinking about it too much - I couldn't stop thinking about it," Kvitova said. "Sabine was serving very well in the second set and not making any mistakes, so it was really tough for me, but in the third I was really fighting hard and believing in myself. Fortunately I broke back and got back into it and won.
"This is a really tough tournament from the first round - you need to be ready for every point."
The next favorite to play wasn't so fortunate - Agnieszka Radwanska, the No.4 seed, won a 58-minute first set but fell behind early in the second set and never found her rhythm again, losing to Simona Halep, 67(2) 61 62. Radwanska had won all three of their previous meetings routinely in straight sets.
"It was an incredible match for me," Halep said afterwards. "The first set was difficult - I just wanted to hit the ball very strong, but it wasn't working too well. From the second set I was playing much more tactically and it worked better. She's a top player and plays very well so I'm very happy to win."
"It went well," Williams said. "It was a good match - she played really well and really smart. She's just a great player and I think she has such a big future, and I really like her as a person, too."
"She's No.1 in the world for a reason," Robson said. "She played really well today. She didn't give me many opportunities. I thought it could have been a little bit closer - I had some break points I didn't take advantage of - but it was a learning experience and hopefully I'll play against her again soon."
Williams has now won 20 matches in a row since falling to Victoria Azarenka in the final of Doha in February. The World No.1 has collected titles in Miami, Charleston and Madrid through that streak.
"I've played lots of matches, but I'm the kind of player who likes to keep playing matches, at least now in my career," Williams said of her current streak. "I just want to keep the confidence there."