All of the Top 25 players in the WTA Tour rankings will head to Rome for the 80th edition of the Italian Open, as the initial entries for the prestigious clay-court event were released this week. “Rome remains a special place for Swiatek, who dismissed Karolina Pliskova in the 2021 title match with an unprecedented double bagel. After that triumph, she made her Top 10 debut,” an official statement released by Italian Open read.
World No.1 Iga Swiatek will be back in an attempt to claim her third consecutive Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Swiatek won the title in 2021 by defeating Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0 in the championship match. The following year, she successfully defended her title with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ons Jabeur. The fifth WTA 1000 tournament of the year’s main draw will take place from Tuesday, May 9 to the singles and doubles championships on Saturday, May 20, a period of almost a full fortnight.
No. 2 in the world Aryna Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion this year, leads the pack of players vying to dethrone Swiatek. The Top 5 are completed by No.3 Jessica Pegula, No.4 Jabeur, and No.5 Caroline Garcia. The following current Top 10 will also be in the running: Coco Gauff is ranked sixth, Elena Rybakina is seventh, Daria Kasatkina is eighth, Maria Sakkari is ninth, and Petra Kvitova is tenth.
Elina Svitolina, who won back-to-back Rome titles in 2017 and 2018, will contest the event for the first time since giving birth to daughter Skai last year. Former World No.1 Pliskova, who captured the title in 2019, joins Swiatek and Svitolina as the former champions in the field. Former Rome finalists on the initial entry list include 2013 runner-up Victoria Azarenka, 2016 finalist Madison Keys, and Alize Cornet, who reached the final as an 18-year-old in 2008.
Barbora Krejcikova, Emma Raducanu, Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, Sofia Kenin, and Bianca Andreescu are among the other Grand Slam champions competing. Andreescu is recovering from an ankle injury suffered in Miami, but she is still on the roster. The Italians who received direct entry into the main draw on home soil are World No.20 Martina Trevisan, No.43 Camila Giorgi, No.51 Elisabetta Cocciaretto and No.66 Jasmine Paolini. (ANI)