HomeSportsItalian Open: Katie Boulter suffers shock early Rome exit to qualifier Rebecca...

Italian Open: Katie Boulter suffers shock early Rome exit to qualifier Rebecca Sramkova

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Britain’s Katie Boulter suffered a shock early exit at the Italian Open, losing 6-4 7-6 to Slovakian qualifier Rebecca Sramkova in Rome. 

Boulter entered the tournament in the Italian capital seeded at 26, giving her a bye to the second round, but she fell at the first hurdle to Sramkova.

The first set saw the impressive Sramkova break the Brit twice early, and though Boulter broke back once, the 27-year-old kept her composure to serve out at 6-4.

A topsy-turvy second set saw Sramkova break Boulter early again, only for the Brit to break her opponent back twice in response, putting her in a position to serve for the set at 5-4 and take the match to a third set decider.

Sramkova broke Boulter in that crucial game, however, with the second set going on to an epic tiebreak, during which Sramkova forced three match points at different times, eventually clinching the win 10-8 in the tiebreak.

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Qualifier Sramkova progressed to the third round in Rome after an impressively powerful display

Meanwhile, world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka came from a set down to hold off American qualifier Katie Volynets to win 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the second round.

Elsewhere, American Sofia Kenin earned a hard-fought win over one of the crowd favorites, Ons Jabeur. Down a break in the third set, Kenin came back to win 7-5 2-6 6-4.

Ahead of her first-round match scheduled for Friday, defending champion Elena Rybakina withdrew, citing illness.

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