Badosa eases to first-round Rome win against Mirra Andreeva

Badosa eases to first-round Rome win against Mirra Andreeva
Badosa eases to first-round Rome win against Mirra Andreeva

Paula Badosa ended Mirra Andreeva’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia debut in the first round on Tuesday, as the former Former World No.2 surrendered just five games against the 17-year-old in a 6-2, 6-3 victory on the Forum Italico’s Center Court.

The match was the most-anticipated tilt of the first round when the women’s draw was released on Monday. While the 2023 WTA Newcomer of the Year’s Rome debut was notable, so too was Badosa’s first match of her third trip to Rome. Last year, Badosa reached the quarterfinals — but it was the penultimate tournament she played for the season. A persistent back injury plagued the rest of her 2023, and has continued to trouble her since.

But against Andreeva, Badosa was near her best for 1 hour and 34 minutes to score her first win since March 19, when she defeated the returning Simona Halep in the first round of the Miami Open. The win against the World No.40 also snapped Badosa’s six-match skid against players ranked in the Top 40, dating back to Rome last year.

A 45-minute rain delay in the opening set — with Badosa already ahead 5-1 — even did little to quash the Spaniard’s momentum. Andreeva did not hold serve until the 12th game of the match, although she had at least one game point in three of her five service games to start the match.

Both players hit more winners than errors in the victory, but Badosa’s final line of 23 winners to 13 unforced errors proved cleaner than Andreeva’s 21 winners to 15 unforced. In addition, the 26-year-old broke serve five times on 11 break points, and saved five of the seven break points against her own serve.

Andreeva had reached the quarterfinals in both Rouen and Madrid in her clay-court season this spring; in the five previous Hologic WTA Tour clay-court tournaments of her young career, Andreeva had won at least one main-draw match.

Badosa was the second player to move through the opening round on the first day of main-draw play, as American Shelby Rogers beat the rain delay by racing through a 6-1, 6-0 win over Italian wild card Lisa Pigato in just 61 minutes.

Badosa will face No.21 seed Emma Navarro in the second round, while Rogers will be the first opponent for Australian Open finalist and No.7 seed Zheng Qinwen.

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