Former champions Serena and Venus Williams join fellow former World No.1 players Victoria Azarenka and Garbiñe Muguruza in action on Monday, as the Internazionali BNL d'Italia kicks off play.
WTA Staff
May 12, 2019

ORDER OF PLAY

CENTRALE -- 11:00 a.m. start
Following 1 ATP match, not before 1:00 p.m.
[10] Serena WILLIAMS (USA) vs. [Q] Rebecca PETERSON (SWE)
Not before 9:00 p.m.
Sofia KENIN (USA) vs. [WC] Jasmine PAOLINI (ITA)

GRANDSTAND -- 11:00 a.m. start
Following 2 ATP matches
[WC] Venus WILLIAMS (USA) vs. Elise MERTENS (BEL)
[WC] Victoria AZARENKA (BLR) vs. ZHANG Shuai (CHN)

PIETRANGELI -- 11:00 a.m. start
Aliaksandra SASNOVICH (BLR) vs. Dominika CIBULKOVA (SVK)
ZHENG Saisai (CHN) vs. Garbiñe MUGURUZA (ESP)
Following 2 ATP matches
[13] Madison KEYS (USA) vs. [Q] Polona HERCOG (SLO)

COURT 1 -- 11:00 a.m. start
Following 1 ATP match
Johanna KONTA (GBR) vs. Alison RISKE (USA)
Following 1 ATP match
[14] Anett KONTAVEIT (EST) vs. [Q] Mona BARTHEL (GER)

COURT 2 -- 11:00 a.m. start
Katerina SINIAKOVA (CZE) vs. [15] WANG Qiang (CHN)
Following 1 ATP match
Viktoria KUZMOVA (SVK) vs. [WC] Sara ERRANI (ITA)
Following 1 ATP match
[LL] Amanda ANISIMOVA (USA) vs. [WC] Elisabetta COCCIARETTO (ITA)

COURT 3 -- 11:00 a.m. start
Lesia TSURENKO (UKR) vs. Yulia PUTINTSEVA (KAZ)
Julia GOERGES (GER) / Karolina PLISKOVA (CZE) vs. Nadiia KICHENOK (UKR) / Abigail SPEARS (USA)
Following 1 ATP match
[Q] Tamara ZIDANSEK (SLO) vs. Ajla TOMLJANOVIC (AUS)

COURT 6 -- 11:00 a.m. start
Maria Jose MARTINEZ SANCHEZ (ESP) / Sara SORRIBES TORMO (ESP) vs. Veronika KUDERMETOVA (RUS) / Vera ZVONAREVA (RUS)
Desirae KRAWCZYK (USA) / Makoto NINOMIYA (JPN) vs. [5] HSIEH Su-Wei (TPE) / Barbora STRYCOVA (CZE)
Irina-Camelia BEGU (ROU) / Mihaela BUZARNESCU (ROU) vs. Anastasia PAVLYUCHENKOVA (RUS) / Anastasija SEVASTOVA (LAT)
[8] Anna-Lena GROENEFELD (GER) / Demi SCHUURS (NED) vs. Lyudmyla KICHENOK (UKR) / Jelena OSTAPENKO (LAT)
Raquel ATAWO (USA) / Katarina SREBOTNIK (SLO) vs. Alicja ROSOLSKA (POL) / YANG Zhaoxuan (CHN)

MATCH POINTS

Serena Williams is looking to claim her fifth Internazionali BNL d'Italia title, having won in 2002, 2013, 2014, and 2016. This will be her first appearance in the Rome field since her title run in 2016.

Serena Williams could face older sister and fellow former World No.1 Venus Williams in the second round, if they each win their first-round matches on Monday.

Read more: Rome Draw Analysis: Serena Williams returns, Simona Halep eyes elusive title

Venus Williams is also a former champion in Rome, having hoisted the trophy in 1999. Venus Williams defeated Martina Hingis in the semifinals and Mary Pierce in the final 20 years ago. She had also made the final on her debut appearance the year prior, in 1998, where she fell to Hingis.

Serena Williams and Rebecca Peterson faced off for the first and only time in the second round of the Miami Open this year. Williams won that match in three sets, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.

Photos: Rulers of Rome: A decade dominated by Serena, Sharapova and Svitolina

Elise Mertens and Venus Williams have met twice before, at back-to-back Grand Slam events in 2017. Williams won each of those matches in straight sets, at the French Open and Wimbledon.

Victoria Azarenka won her only prior encounter with Zhang Shuai in straight sets, at the 2016 BNP Paribas Open. Azarenka went on to win that title in Indian Wells, then followed up by winning the Miami Open title two weeks later to complete the "Sunshine Double."

Photos: Twice as nice: Sunshine Double champions through the years

Former World No.1 Azarenka's best showing in Rome was a runner-up performance in 2013, when she lost to Serena Williams in the final.

Garbiñe Muguruza has won both of her prior meetings with Zheng Saisai in straight sets, which both occurred this year, at the Australian Open and in Dubai. Former World No.1 Muguruza reached back-to-back Rome semifinals in 2016 and 2017.

Two other former Rome finalists are in action on Monday: 2014 finalist Sara Errani (against Viktoria Kuzmova) and 2016 finalist Madison Keys (who plays qualifier Polona Hercog).

Read more: 'It's the final, so you give everything' - Hercog overcomes Swiatek to lift third trophy in Lugano

17-year-old lucky loser Amanda Anisimova is the youngest player in the draw, slightly younger than 18-year-old wild card Elisabetta Cocciaretto. Venus Williams is the oldest player in the field, at 37 years of age.

Read more: Anisimova fights past Sharma to claim first title in Bogota

All five main-draw wild cards are in action on Monday: Azarenka, Cocciaretto, Errani, Jasmine Paolini, and Venus Williams.