Canada’s Bianca Andreescu advanced to the second round of the Italian Open on a walkover Tuesday after opponent Emma Raducanu retired due to a back injury.
Andreescu led the battle of recent U.S. Open champions 6-2, 2-1 when Raducanu, the 10th seed in Rome, was forced to withdraw.
Also Tuesday, men’s eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal advanced with a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 win over Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and 13th seed Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., moved on with a 6-4, 7-6 (5) win over Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Raducanu’s struggles were evident early. Andreescu went up a break quickly and proceeded to convert three of her 11 breakpoint chances while winning 84 per cent of service points. Andreescu did not face a break point.
Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., will face Spain’s Nuria Parrizas-Diaz in the second round on Wednesday. Parrizas-Diaz was trailing Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1, 4-3 in a first-round match when Sorribes Tormo retired with a back injury.
Andreescu won the U.S. Open in 2019. Britain’s Raducanu won in 2021, defeating Canada’s Leylah Fernandez in the final.
Shapovalov had a relatively routine win following his testy three-plus hour opener against Italian favourite Lorenzo Sonego that saw him swear at the booing crowd after arguing with a line judge.
Shapovalov overcame five unforced errors and saved the only break point he faced in the win that took one hour 40 minutes to complete.
He broke Basilashvili once in the first set, then took a 5-1 lead in the second set tiebreaker after both players held serve
Basilashvili came back and narrowed the gap to 6-5 on a Shapovalov double-fault, but the Canadian cashed in against serve on his first match-point chance.
Shapovalov will next face the winner of a Wednesday match between Spanish legend Rafael Nadal and hard-serving American John Isner.
Auger-Aliassime, who had a bye in the first round, needed just over three hours to defeat world No. 29 Davidovich Fokina.
The Canadian responded after Davidovich Fokina rode his effective first serve to victory in the opening set.
Auger-Aliassime defended all three break points he faced in the set, including two in the ninth game with the score tied 4-4.
With both players holding serve throughout the set, Auger-Aliassime scored five straight points in the tiebreaker to tie the match at a set each.
Auger-Aliassime dominated the third set, winning 72 per cent of first-serve points and breaking Davidovich Fokina three times on six chances.
Auger-Aliassime will next face the winner of Wednesday’s match between 12th-seed Argentine Diego Schwartzman and Marcos Giron of the United States.
Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., was scheduled to face Daria Kasatkina in a women’s second-round match Wednesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2022.
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