Paula Badosa holds off upset bid in Rome

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Former World No. 2 Paula Badosa rallied after a slow start to outlast German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (2) in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Wednesday in Rome.

Friedsam was in position to notch a big upset when she led 5-4 in the third set. However, Badosa forced a tiebreak and then dominated it to escape with the victory.

“Really happy about this win,” Badosa said. “I think (Friedsam) played at an amazing level, and I’m really happy that I kept fighting until the last point.”

Badosa improved to 8-3 on clay surfaces this season. She prevailed despite winning just 56 percent of her first-serve points in a match that took two hours and 37 minutes.

The Spaniard faces fourth-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the second round.

“(Jabeur is) an amazing player, it’s going to be a battle like always,” Badosa said of the matchup. “Really looking forward to that. I respect her a lot, and I hope it’s going to be a good match and people have fun.”

No seeded players were in action on Wednesday.

Sloane Stephens was one of five Americans on the courts, and she posted a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Nadia Podoroska of Argentina.

Stephens converted five of 10 break points in the victory. She will face 14th-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the second round.

Taylor Townsend prevailed with a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 triumph over Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium.

Claire Lu also advanced with a 6-7 (9), 6-2, 6-2 comeback victory over Italy’s Camilla Rosatello.

Romania’s Sorana Cirstea rallied for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Katie Volynets.

Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto rolled to a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Lauren Davis.

Former World No. 3 Elina Svitolina continued her comeback after being off tour for more than a year, but she lost to fellow Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-3.

Tsurenko converted six of nine break points.

Svitolina began her break because of the mental aspect associated with the Russian invasion of her home country and continued it to give birth. She had her daughter Skai in October.

Svitolina returned to the tour in April at Charleston, S.C.

Italian veteran Camila Giorgi rallied to notch a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands.

France’s Alize Cornet moved on with a 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory over Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic. Cornet converted four of five break points.

–Field Level Media

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