Dates, draws, cash prizes and everything you need to know

The Hologic WTA Tour heads to the Eternal City next week for the fifth WTA 1000 event of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. World No.1 and defending champion Iga Swiatek returns to action and takes her 23-game winning streak to Rome, leading another packed field that includes 19 of the top 20 on the circuit.

Two weeks before Roland Garros, who will add their name to the list of Parisian favourites?

Here’s what you need to know about Rome:

When does the tournament start?

The Internazionali BNL d’Italia is the last WTA 1000 before the French Open, which begins on May 22. The tournament, long known as the “Italian Open,” is played on an outdoor red clay court at Foro Italico and features a 56-man singles draw and 28-team doubles draw. The Dunlop Fort Clay Court ball will be used.

Main draw play begins on Monday, May 9. Play starts at 11:00 a.m., with night sessions starting at 7:00 p.m.

When is the final?

The singles and doubles finals will take place on Sunday 15 May. The singles final is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

Who are the top 16 seeds?

Nineteen of the top 20 are scheduled to play in Rome. The only major absentee is reigning Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova, who withdrew due to an elbow injury. The Czech has not played since February in Doha.

1. Iga Swiatek
2. Paula Badosa
3. Aryna Sabalenka
4. Maria Sakkari
5. Anett Kontaveit
6. Karolina Pliskova
7. Danielle Collins
8. Garbiñe Muguruza
9. Ons Jabeur
10. Emma Raducanu
11. Jelena Ostapenko
12. Belinda Bencic
13. Jessica Pegula
14. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
15. Coco Gauff
16. Victoria Azarenka

Champion’s Reel: How Iga Swiatek won Rome 2021

2021 Roma

Who are the defending champions?

World No.1 Iga Swiatek won her second clay title last year, beating Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0 in the final.

In doubles, Sharon Fichman and Giuliana Olmos surprised the field with their biggest ever title, beating Kristina Mladenovic and Marketa Vondrousova 4-6, 7-5, 10-5 in the final.

What does the draw look like?

This year’s tournament will see the return of three former champions in Swiatek (2021), Halep (2020) and Pliskova (2019). Wildcards were granted to the Italian trio composed of Jasmine Paoliini, Lucia Bronzetti and Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

What are the cash prizes and ranking points offered?

Rome offers a total scholarship of $2,828,000

First round: 1 point
Second round: 60 points
Third round: 105 points
Quarter-final: 190 points
Semi-final: 350 points
Final: 585 points
Champion: 900 points

Key scenarios

Swiatek is rested and ready to defend: The world No. 1 took a well-deserved two-week break. After winning her fourth straight Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title to extend her winning streak to 23, Swiatek withdrew from the Mutua Madrid Open to treat a niggling shoulder. She has spent the last week training on clay at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca and is already in Rome training. Expected to win her opener, Swiatek will have the longest winning streak since Serena Williams posted 27 in 2015.

Badosa, Sabalenka and Sakkari aim to get back on track: No.2 Badosa, No.4 Sabalenka and No.5 Sakkari were released early in Madrid. The defeat was less of a concern for Badosa, who had played well in Stuttgart the previous week. She was juggling the Spanish spotlight for the first time in her home tournament and suffered a tough second-round draw against Halep. Badosa skipped Rome last year which means she will have a great opportunity to add points this week.

Sakkari was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last year – and was one point away from his first major final. The Greek star loves clay. But since appearing in the BNP Paribas Open final in March, Sakkari has won only one match in his last three tournaments. A deep run in Rome will go a long way to his confidence in Paris.

Halep looks dangerous again: The former No.1 has finally scratched Rome from his list in 2020. But after an injury-plagued 2021 campaign, Halep has played in tennis’ Top 10 in 2022 and looks compelling as a shortlist favorite for Paris after his solid run in Madrid. quarter-finals last week. Halep seems inspired by new coach Patrick Mouratoglou and will be a threat for a second title in Rome this week.

Raducanu is gaining ground: The defending US Open champion has looked better and better with each match on clay. Her three-set loss to Anhelina Kalinina in the Round of 16 in Madrid was her finest performance since the US Open. Notably, the 19-year-old is now knocking on the door of her Top 10 debut. A deep run in Rome should see her through the threshold.

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