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Angelique Kerber’s first day as the the German No.1 went hardly as she planned. Facing qualifier Anastasia Rodinova of Australia, she had to see off stiff resistance before she finally won in three sets.
Kerber – Now World No.11 had to really dig deep in order to win her match against the the Aussie qualifier. After dropping the first set, she also lost a break in the second before she climbed her way back to take the second set. Even the third set wasn’t smooth sailing as she lost another break early but recovered to finally win 4-6,7-5,6-2.
"It was very tough conditions because some of the court had shadows, some was sunny, and it was windy," Kerber said. "And Anastasia played very well - I was just thinking to fight and play point by point, and I'm very happy I won. I love playing on red clay. I grew up on it. Last week the blue clay in Madrid wasn't so bad, I made the third round, but it's good to be back on red!"
She also refuses to let the German No.1 tag blow out of proportion as she focuses on the process and not its rewards. "Of course I'm very happy to be the new No.1 in Germany and have my career-high too, but I actually just try to keep improving my game and my personality, and we'll see what comes."
Former World No.1 Ana Ivanovic was also in action yesterday as she squared off with former World No.2 Svetlana Kuznetsova. After some resistance from the Russian two-time Grand Slam winner, she came on top winning 6-4,6-3.
"It was difficult at times and the gusts of wind would come out of nowhere, but it was the same for both of us," Ivanovic said after the match. "I just tried to move and adjust to it, and look at the ball and move forward when I needed to."
Italian Francesca Schiavone, who was eliminated early in Madrid, put on another disappointing show here in Rome as she lost to Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets. Schiovone continues to struggle and has lost 10 of her last 12 matches.
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