It was a windy first few days in Rome. Galina Voskoboeva and Olga Govortsova felt it in the doubles.
Ekaterina Makarova powered through the wind and Italian No.1 Francesca Schiavone on Monday night, 63 64.
Christina McHale beat Monica Niculescu then pushed World No.2 Maria Sharapova to 75 75 second round.
Four of the 16 seeds in the draw fell first round - including two-time Rome champion Jelena Jankovic.
Simona Halep took on Venus Williams in the first round for the second straight week - and lost, 63 64.
Galina Voskoboeva showed flashes of brilliance but ended up losing to Serena Williams first round, 62 63.
Nadia Petrova came oh so close to a mammoth upset but Serena Williams got on a roll and won, 46 62 63.
Ekaterina Makarova had beaten Serena Williams earlier this year but fell to Venus Williams here, 76(7) 61.
Anabel Medina Garrigues met Caroline Wozniacki at net after the Dane fell to the Spaniard and illness.
Julia Goerges defeated Marion Bartoli for her seventh Top 10 win - five on clay, two on hardcourts.
Flavia Pennetta beat Maria Kirilenko and Sloane Stephens to become the only Italian to make the last 16.
Flavia Pennetta's heroics continued in the third round, as she beat Petra Cetkovska in a rout, 60 61.
Serena Williams' run to the semifinals in Rome this week extended her perfect clay court season to 17-0.
Venus Williams reached the third quarterfinal of her comeback with a win over World No.5 Sam Stosur.
Maria Sharapova was too tough for Venus Williams in the quarterfinals however, scoring a 64 63 victory.