Svitolina and Kerber advance in Italy

WTA stars Elina Svitolina and Angelique Kerber both enjoyed a successful day at the Italian Open on Tuesday.

Svitolina reached the third round of the clay court event following a routine 6-1, 6-2 win in just one hour over Petra Martic on the red stuff in Rome.

The fourth seed was near error-free, saving both break points she faced while claiming Martic’s serve four times in a clinical display. The defending champion fired 24 winners and was accurate on serve, winning 79% of her first service points.

Meanwhile, two-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber survived a tense second set tiebreaker to defeat Zarina Diyas 6-2, 7-6(6) to reach the second round.

The German has been on the sidelines with injury since WTA Stuttgart in April and was happy with her comeback performance.

“I’m really happy to be on court again and after the practices, and the treatments I had, I’m quite happy about the performance today,” said Kerber.

“For me, it would be good to have as many matches as I can…before going to Paris. I’m just looking match-to-match, and I don’t have too big of expectations for this tournament.”

Elsewhere, former world number one Maria Sharapova continued to impress on clay, knocking out 16th seed Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in two and half hours. The Russian is coming off a quarter-final appearance in Madrid.