Rome Masters: Kontaveit deals another setback to Kerber, early exit for Cibulkova
Angelique Kerber spoke of her lack of confidence after Anett Kontaveit emphatically beat the world number one in the second round of the Internazionali d’Italia, while Dominika Cibulkova suffered another defeat to Ekaterina Makarova.
Estonian qualifier Kontaveit claimed her first victory over a top-five opponent in Rome on Wednesday, taking less than an hour to defeat the top seed 6-4 6-0.
Kerber has had a disappointing 2017 so far after claiming the first two grand slam titles of her career last year and the German has been particularly out of sorts on clay.
Cibulkova must be fed up of the sight of Makarova, as the fourth seed from Slovakia’s 1-6 6-1 6-3 loss on day three was her third against the Russian this year.
Sixth seed Simona Halep, full of confidence after winning the Madrid Open last weekend, saw off Laura Siegemund in straight sets and Karolina Pliskova eased through 6-1 6-1 against Lauren Davis.
Garbine Muguruza came from a set down to beat Jelena Ostapenko 2-6 6-2 6-1, while Venus Williams, Elina Svitolina, Daria Gavrilova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova were also winners along with Timea Bacsinszky and Julia Goerges.
KERBER NOT MASKING CLAY SHORTCOMINGS
Kerber showed no signs of turning around her disappointing form on clay, bowing out in a flash against the improving Kontaveit.
The top seed gave an honest assessment after her latest setback with the French Open fast approaching.
Anett Kontaveit shocks World No.1 Kerber 6-4, 6-0 in @InteBNLdItalia Second round! pic.twitter.com/NtgynRsxzJ
— WTA (@WTA) May 17, 2017
“Everybody knows I’m not a clay-court specialist,” the German said. “I was not playing good last year, as well. I had a great year, but I mean, these few weeks I was not playing good.
“I think I need one good match to get also my confidence back. I’m working hard, I’m trying to practice really hard and trying to improving the movement, especially on clay, because it’s not 100 per cent. I’m not feeling so well on this surface.”
DEJA VU FOR CIBULKOVA
Cibulkova lost to Makarova at the Australian Open and in Dubai this season, so it will not have come as a big surprise to many to see her slip up to the same opponent again.
There was no sign of what was to come in a one-sided opening set, which Cibulkova wrapped up in only 33 minutes after making just two unforced errors.
The unseeded Makarova came storming back, though, bossing the second and booking an encounter with Kiki Bertens by breaking four times in the decider.
.@KateMakarova1 advances to @InteBNLdItalia Round of 16!
Defeats Cibulkova for the 3rd time this season! #ibi17 pic.twitter.com/N8zrRdz4Ot
— WTA (@WTA) May 17, 2017
IN-FORM HALEP LOOKING OMINOUS
Halep won her first title of the year in the Spanish capital last weekend and looks hungry for another after a straight-sets success against Siegemund.
Siegemund won her previous two matches against Halep, including the semi-final of the Stuttgart Open last month, but the world number four gained revenge.
Halep now boasts 23 wins in her last 27 contests on clay and twice came from behind to take the opening set against Siegemund before breaking four times in the second to set up a meeting with Pavlyuchenkova.