The 5th Major Tournament on the WTA Tour in 2010 is the Rome Open. Rome has been held at the Foro Italico in Rome, Italy since 1935 and was known as the Italian Open. Since 2007 Rome has been called the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and it is the first major clay court tournament of the year in women’s tennis.
Rome will be played from Friday 30 April through to the Women’s Singles Final, which will be held on Saturday 8 May. Rome is one of the most important tournaments on the WTA Tour because it is one of the prestigious Premier Five level tournaments.
The Premier FIVE category events have a total financial commitment of 2 million US dollars. The Rome main draw singles ceremony will be held on Friday 30 April at 12 noon local time. This tournament began in 1930 in Milan, where it was played until 1934. This year will be the 66th edition of Rome and the last Italian to win the women’s singles title was Raffaella Reggi in 1985.
The singles main draw consists of 56 players. There are 5 main draw wild cards, 8 spots reserved for qualifiers and 43 direct acceptances. The qualifying draw will have 32 players, which means that you need to win 2 matches in a row in order to qualify. ONLY the Top 8 seeds will receive a BYE in the 1st round and there will be 16 seeded players. Therefore only 48 players play in the 1st round with the 24 winners joining the Top 8 seeds in the 2nd round. All matches are best out of 3 sets.
Once the direct acceptances and wild cards are announced it will be posted here in our coverage of Rome. Last year the final acceptance was World No.60 at the time Natalie Dechy of France.
*Update = the main draw singles acceptance date for this year is the rankings as at 22 March 2010. The qualifying event acceptance date is 12 April 2010.
The ranking of the last person to be directly accepted into the main draw becomes the cut-off for that event. The cut-off is a good indicator of the strength of the tournament, with Rome being a very strong tournament.
*Update = Thus far all 43 of the top 43 ranked players in the world are entered into the main draw. No.43 is Former World No.1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. Serena Williams has been granted a Wild Card after initially withdrawing from competing in Rome.
All 3 wild cards were awarded to Italian players in 2009 in a strong show of support for their own players by the Federazione Italiana Tennis (Italian Tennis Federation).
Last year 7 Italians played in the women’s main draw singles event with Sara Errani, Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta being directly accepted. The other 4 Italians were one qualifier – Alberta Brianti and 3 wild cards Roberta Vinci, Karin Knapp and Tathiana Garbin. Pennetta performed the best by making it to the round of 16 before being defeated by Kuznetsova in 3 sets.
Last year the No.1 seed, Dinara Safina won Rome by defeating No.7 seed, Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-2 in the final. Safina won 800 WTA ranking points for that victory whilst Kuznetsova won 550 WTA ranking points as the runner-up.
Safina, who is pictured above during the early phases of her service motion, beat Venus Williams in the 2009 Rome semi finals & Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in the quarter finals. Kuznetsova defeated Victoria Azarenka in the semis & Jelena Jankovic. The other 2 quarter finalists were Agnieszka Radwanska who lost to Venus and Kaia Kanepi who lost to Azarenka.
This year Rome will be played on a new and yet to be named tennis stadium with a capacity of 10,500 people. The 38.4 million dollar facility was built and is operated by the Italian Olympic Committee and is integral to their plans to hold a combined men’s and women’s event from 2011. The new stadium was built on the Foro Italico site and the 2010 event will be the first to be held at the new stadium.
Stay tuned to this tennis website for further information about Rome. Click this link for more details including the upcoming Schedule of Play -> Rome 2010: Apr 24 – May 8.
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photo credit: zazoo86