Rome, Italy (Sports Network) - Former champion Venus Williams was a lopsided
first-round loser at the Italian International tennis event.
Promising British left-hander Laura Robson whipped the former world No. 1 and
seven-time major champion Williams 6-3, 6-2 on the red clay at Foro Italico.
The American star was the Rome titlist back in 1999 and runner-up in 1998.
Robson is rewarded with a second-round match against Williams' younger sister
Serena, the current world No. 1 star who's fresh off her clay-court title in
Madrid last week.
Ninth-seeded former U.S. Open champ and 2011 Rome runner-up Samantha Stosur
moved on Monday by tackling Taiwan's Su-Wei Hsieh, 6-2, 6-3.
Stosur lost to reigning two-time champion Maria Sharapova in the final here
two years ago. Sharapova beat Chinese star Li Na in last year's Rome finale.
Meanwhile, American qualifier Melanie Oudin advanced by beating Russian
Ekaterina Makarova 2-6, 7-5, 4-2, retired, and German slugger Sabine Lisicki
defeated American qualifier Mallory Burdette 6-1, 6-2.
Also advancing were Japan's Ayumi Morita, Spanish qualifier Garbine Muguruza,
Italian wild card Nastassja Burnett, and Chinese Peng Shuai. Burnett topped
2008 Rome runner-up Alize Cornet of France, 6-2, 6-2.
This week's top seeds are current and/or former world No. 1s -- Serena
Williams, last week's Madrid runner-up Sharapova and Australian Open champion
Victoria Azarenka. Sharapova will meet the aforementioned Muguruza in the
round of 32.
The winner of this $2.4 million event will collect $445,000.
The Sports Network