Home Sports Italian Open: Venus sets up Serena showdown

Italian Open: Venus sets up Serena showdown

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Serena Williams will take on sister Venus in the second round of the Italian Open more than two decades after they last met on the red clay of Rome after both advanced in different styles.

Four-time Rome winner Serena, 37, returned after two months out injured easing through 6-4, 6-2 against Swedish qualifier Rebecca Petersen.

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But 38-year-old Venus, whose only Rome title came back in 1999, needed over three hours to battle past Belgian Elise Mertens 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).

Germany’s Alexander Zverev crashed out on Tuesday with a 7-5, 7-5 loss to Italian wild card Matteo Berrettini in the second round.

The 33rd-ranked Italian survived four break points in the second set, breaking the German in the twelfth game to close 7-5 to the delight of the home crowd.

The 28-year-old Goffin won through 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 against three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka from Switzerland to set up a meeting with Argentine seventh seed Jual Martin Del Potro.

Serena, in what will be another family affair, plays Venus, with the sisters last meeting in 1998, 21 years ago.

Venus, meanwhile, came out on top of a tight contest that went all the way to a third-set tie-break despite letting the Belgian back in by missing six match points on her serve. She missed a further two match points as Mertens battled to level the set at 6-6, before finally taking the match in the tie-break and setting up a 31st clash with her sibling.

In the men’s section, Italian Fabio Fognini beat France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round.

Tsonga, now ranked 92nd, missed much of 2018 after knee surgery.

The Frenchman had won four of the pair’s five meetings but was broken in each set, with Fognini saving five of the six break points.

Fognini will next play either Moldovan Radu Albot, who beat him at Indian Wells, or French qualifier Benoit Paire.

French 15th seed Gael Monfils crashed out in straight sets to Spaniard Alberto Ramos 6-3, 6-1.

Canadian Denis Shapovalov beat Spaniard Pablo Carreño-Busta 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) to advance to the second round.

Shapovalov, 20, will next play world number one and Madrid Open champion Novak Djokovic.

Deepak Ashwath
Freelance journalist and all around sports enthusiast.

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