Italian Open 2019: Buzarnescu wins first round after Ostapenko retires late into the match
Mihaela Buzarnescu cruised through while her opponent struggled to keep up at the BNL Internazionali D’Italia on Tuesday. Jelena Ostapenko was sluggish from the start to her eventually calling it a day to give the Romanian an easy 6-2, 5-4 victory on Rome Court 1 at Foro Italico.
The Romanian looked to even up the series with the Latvian in their fourth matchup and first on clay. So far, Buzarnescu had the slight edge in terms of success in clay court tournaments, giving her a shot at making beyond the first round in her second appearance. Ostapenko made her fourth start in Rome hoping to surpass her quarterfinal finish last year. With both needing a major boost before the next slam, holding the service together was the order of the day for both to attain.
Buzarnescu was first to open the scoring, holding Ostapenko to a pair of points to hold serve. She added the break in the second where she again held off the Latvian at a pair of points. A second straight hold for the Romanian put her in a good spot to dictate with Ostapenko in dire straits. She was down four games with Buzarnescu up a double break in the process. She somehow found a way to break back allowing just two points to end the shutout.
Getting dug in was not going to be allowed by the 31-year-old as she rallied in the seventh before taking the set swiftly in the form of a shutout after the eighth. It took her 35 minutes to complete the set with her first serve doing most of the work that trounced Ostapenko’s return game. The Latvian’s offense finished on the low side where she only won eight points of 23 total.
Something was clearly wrong with Ostapenko where despite holding serve following Buzarnescu’s opening service game, the 21-year-old couldn’t perform to her best. A break in the fifth for the Latvian gave her the lead but a quick break back from Buzarnescu made it clear that the match was close to finishing. She continued to move along to the point of leading 5-4 with her second serve to love in the set. As the two got the tenth game underway, Ostapenko called it quits cutting her opponent short of achieving an official win.
Despite the sudden end right before her official advance to the second round, the 31-year-old left-hander gained the chance to prepare for her second round match against Julia Goerges on Wednesday.