It didn't take long for upsets to start as Maria Kirilenko beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in her opening match.
Serena Williams made a winning return to the circuit, beating Timea Bacsinszky in her first match of the week.
Dinara Safina pushed it to three sets but wound up surrending her title to Alexandra Dulgheru in her opener.
Venus Williams was on absolute fire in the early rounds, not dropping a set until the quarterfinals.
Andrea Petkovic was a tougher test in Serena Williams' second match back, pushing her to three sets, 62 36 60.
Ana Ivanovic's resurgence began in the early rounds with her first Top 10 win since 2008, over Vika Azarenka.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez was tenacious as ever during a 64 62 third round upset of Caroline Wozniacki.
Caroline Wozniacki lost to Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez for the third time in as many career meetings.
Lucie Safarova pulled off a Top 10 upset for the second straight week, edging Aga Radwanska in the 16s.
Elena Dementieva would lose to Ana Ivanovic for the first time in five career meetings in the round of 16.
Venus Williams suffered the worst loss of her career against Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals: 60 61.
Serena Williams had match point at 5-4 in the third set and a 5-2 lead in the breaker but lost to Jelena Jankovic.
Jelena Jankovic called family on her Sony Ericsson phone after a 46 63 76(5) semifinal win over Serena Williams.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez continued a dream run into her first Premier final, beating Ana Ivanovic in the semis.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez dropped to the clay after beating Jelena Jankovic in the final, 76(5) 75.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez met Jelena Jankovic at the net after winning her third and biggest singles title.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez became the first Spanish champion in Rome since Conchita Martinez 14 years ago.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez posed with the Internazionali BNL d'Italia trophy in front of snapping cameras.
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez with her trophy at her press conference, which followed her doubles final match.
Flavia Pennetta and Gisela Dulko won their third straight title together, having won in Miami and Stuttgart.