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Serena Williams’ 1,000th match ends in defeat at Italian Open

ROME — Serena Williams’ 1,000th tour-level singles match ended in defeat as she marked her return to motion with a 7-6 (6), 7-5 loss to Nadia Podoroska on Wednesday in the second spherical of the Italian Open.

The eighth-seeded Williams, who hadn’t performed because the Australian Open, rallied from a break down twice in the opening set and saved the primary three set factors she confronted in the tiebreaker earlier than Podoroska transformed her fourth. The Argentine went on to win in 1 hour, 58 minutes.

“It’s tough to have a first match on clay. It was definitely kind of good to go the distance and to try to be out there, but clearly I can do legions better,” stated Williams, who has received the Italian Open 4 occasions. “Maybe I do need a few more matches, so I’m going to try to figure that out with my coach and my team and see what we would like to do. I have been training for months, but it feels definitely different on clay to make that last adjustment.”

The 24-year-old Podoroska took a 5-2 lead in the second set however was damaged at love the primary time she tried to serve out the match. She broke Williams once more in the twelfth recreation to seal her third profession win over a top-10 participant.

“It’s special win. She’s a great athlete. She did too many things for our sport. It’s history,” Podoroska stated. “So for me it’s very special. But most of all, I’m happy the way I played. I felt again comfortable on clay, on my game, and that’s most important for me.”

Defending champion Simona Halep was pressured to retire with a left calf damage in the second set of her match in opposition to fellow former No. 1 Angelique Kerber.

The third-seeded Halep was main 6-1, 3-3 earlier than her damage.

Second-seeded Naomi Osaka can be out after shedding 7-6 (2), 6-2 to Jessica Pegula of the United States. Fourth-seeded Sofia Kenin misplaced 6-1, 6-4 to Barbora Krejčíková.

Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty and former champion Karolina Pliskova earned straight-set wins, whereas Vera Zvonareva ousted Eleventh-seeded Petra Kvitova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

In the boys’s match, Rafael Nadal held off a powerful problem from native teenager Jannik Sinner to prevail 7-5, 6-4.

Earlier, third-seeded Daniil Medvedev misplaced 6-2, 6-4 to fellow Russian Aslan Karatsev.

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