Top seed and world No. 1 Naomi Osaka won twice Thursday, defeating Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova and Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.
Osaka won both matches 6-3, 6-3.
Play was backed up because of rain on Wednesday, forcing 12 players to play twice Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Buzarnescu advanced to face Osaka when 16th-seeded German Julia Goerges retired in the Round of 32 with the match tied at a set apiece.
Of the dozen players doing double duty, Osaka was the only one to sweep both matches.
“I knew that immediately I had to be on from the first point (of the day),” Osaka told Tennis Channel. “I feel I’m getting better on clay every match that I play, which is a really big bonus.”
She will face sixth-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. Bertens beat Amanda Anisimova 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the Round of 32, then took down Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the Round of 16.
Suarez Navarro also benefitted from attrition, as she won her first match of the day when France’s Alize Cornet retired down a set.
Perhaps no player had an easier day than former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
She was among the group of players to play in the Round of 32 on Tuesday, giving her extra rest before facing Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in the Round of 16. Muguruza needed more than two hours to beat Danielle Collins 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 earlier Thursday.
Muguruza withdrew from the match after losing the first set 6-4 and being down 3-1 in the second.
Azarenka will face fourth-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova in the quarters. Pliskova played on Tuesday while her Round of 16 opponent, Sofia Kenin, needed nearly 2 1/2 hours to beat Madison Keys earlier Thursday, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4. Pliskova prevailed 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The other quarterfinal matches will feature Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic against Brit Johanna Konta, and France’s Kristina Mladenovic facing Greece’s Maria Sakkari. All are unseeded.
Vondrousova pulled off one of the biggest shockers of the day in the Round of 32, beating third-ranked Simona Halep of Romania 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“I just played great match, I think. I was just really enjoying myself out there. The crowd was amazing,” Vondrousova told reporters. “I’m just very happy with the win.”
–Field Level Media