ROME, Italy – WTA World No.4 Kiki Bertens showed both spirit and quality to overcome lucky loser Amanda Anisimova, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
Coming off the back of a win in Madrid last week, as well as a trip to the semifinals of Stuttgart at the end of April, the in-form Dutchwoman had to dig deep to overcome one of the WTA Tour’s up-and-coming stars.
Fatigue and the effects of the Rome surface, considerably slower than in the Spanish capital, particularly in the wake of Wednesday’s persistent rain, worked against Bertens, who showed her mental toughness to win through.
It was the 27-year-old’s eighth win in succession, although her streak of successive sets won was ended at 13 by the American.
Bertens, seeded No.6 for this event, ultimately eased to the opener, but she did not have it all her own way, facing three break points over its duration against an opponent that she had never previously met.
For a significant period in the second, it seemed that Bertens might run away with the match as she rapidly moved to establish a double-break advantage over the teenager.
Anisimova, who had defeated Elisabetta Cocciaretto in the first round after losing out to Kristina Mladenovic in qualifying, showed mental resilience beyond her years and profited from a dip in her opponents’ delivery in the second set.
Bertens complained to coach Raemon Sluiter at a changeover that she felt her shots had “zero power”, and for a half-hour period she failed to hit through her opponent, who enjoyed a spell in which she never seemed to miss a ball.