May 24, 2019
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Muguruza, Osaka power into Italian Open round of 16

Rome, May 16 (efe-epa).- World no. 1 Naomi Osaka of Japan on Thursday secured her spot in the Italian Open round of 16 after a straight-set victory over Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova.

Firing 44 winners and 12 aces, Osaka needed an hour and 42 minute to finish off Cibulkova 6-3, 6-3 and advance into the tournament's third round for the first time in her career.

The reigning Australian Open and US Open champion, Osaka, next will take on Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania, who advanced to the round of 16 after her rival, Germany's Julia Gorges, withdrew in the third set, while both players were level 6-4, 3-6, 4-4.

Spain's Garbiñe Muguruza, meanwhile, managed to defeat Danielle Collins of the United States 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to reach the third round, after two hours and 10 minutes of competition.

"Yes, I was just keeping composed," the 25-year-old Spaniard of Venezuelan origin said, according to the WTA website.

"I was playing well. She came up and won the second set. I knew I was on the right path. In the third set I kept doing the same thing and it worked better," the Spanish tennis pro added.

Muguruza is set to square off against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who knocked off former world no. 3 and defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 at the tournament's second round Tuesday.

The Muguruza-Azarenka and Osaka-Buzarnescu matches are set to take place Thursday because heavy rains in Rome forced a delay to Wednesday's play.

"We always want to play with sun - brings good energy," Muguruza explained.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands qualified for the tournament's third round after her hard-fought 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 win over United States player Amanda Anisimova.

Bertens, the newly crowned champion of the 2019 Madrid Open, took two hours and seven minutes to prevail over her rival and continue her bid for her second title of the season.

The 27-year-old Dutch pro will play Spain's Carla Suarez, who won 6-3, 3-0 after Alize Cornet of France pulled out of the match following an hour of play.

Johanna Konta of Britain made it through to the third round, winning 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-1 over Sloane Stephens of the US.

Konta is due to face another US star Venus Williams, who had been set to play her sister, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena, in the second round but the latter withdrew with a knee injury.

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