ROME: Alize Cornet scored a 6-1, 6-4 upset win over ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka in the first round of the Italian Open yesterday.
Meanwhile, Caroline Wozniacki retired from her match against Danielle Collins after suffering another injury setback.
Wozniacki was unable to complete her opening encounter with Alize Cornet at the Madrid Open last week due to a back injury.
The luckless former world number one made another early exit yesterday due to an issue with her calf. Wozniacki, the 11th seed, decided she could not carry on after Collins won the first set 7-6 (7-5).
The 2018 Australian Open winner called for the physio three times before shaking hands when Collins took the opening set.
Dane Wozniacki was beaten by Madison Keys in her first final of the year in Charleston last month.
The 28-year-old revealed she had struggled with a viral illness for almost two months after withdrawing from the Dubai Tennis Championships in February, having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis last year.
Earlier, Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament with a recurring left knee injury.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion’s withdrawal comes a day after she beat Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in straight sets to set up a third round meeting with her older sister Venus today.
She had been returning after more than two months out with a knee problem.
Another qualifier in Maria Sakkari and Daria Kasatkina also scored first-round wins early yesterday, with the Greek No 1 beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-1, 7-5, and the Russian rallying from 5-2 down in the second set to beat Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-2, 7-6(5).
The win over the world No. 10 Sabalenka was Cornet’s 18th career top 10 victory, and first since beating Angelique Kerber at last summer’s Coupe Rogers in Montreal.
In addition, the top 10 victory was her first on clay since she beat compatriot Caroline Garcia at the 2018 Volvo Car Open.
“I’m very pleased, very pleased to be in the second round. The match today was a little bit out of rhythm...and tough conditions for both of us,” Cornet said after the match.