ROME (REUTERS) - Champion Iga Swiatek breezed past Romania's Elena-Gabriela Ruse with a 6-3 6-0 victory to move into the Italian Open last-16 on Wednesday (May 11), while Switzerland's Jil Teichmann ended Karolina Pliskova's run of reaching three successive Rome finals with 6-2 4-6 6-4 win.
World number one Swiatek, who was given a bye into the second round, extended her winning run to 24 matches after converting seven break points to wrap up the match in just 68 minutes.
The Pole, who comes back after skipping the Madrid Open due to a shoulder injury, has fond memories of Rome - where she won her first WTA 1000 crown - and is looking to add to this year's titles in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Stuttgart.
"I'm pretty proud I could get into the rhythm today, just take some lessons during the match and improve my game, game by game. That was pretty solid match for me," Swiatek told reporters.
The top seed next faces former world number one Victoria Azarenka, who cruised past Colombia's Camila Osorio 6-2 6-4.
"I've never even had a chance to play a practice with her on clay, so I'm not sure how the game is going to look like," Swiatek said of Azarenka.
"For sure tactically we need to prepare today because she's such an experienced player... You have to be ready for facing a lot of variety in her game."
Pliskova has enjoyed considerable success at the tournament, winning the title in 2019, before finishing runner-up to Simona Halep and Swiatek over the past two years. But her 2022 run ended prematurely after she failed to come to grips with Teichmann's power and guile.
Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who became the first African player to win a WTA 1000 title in Madrid over the weekend, also moved to the next round on Wednesday after beating Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-2.
"It's never easy to play Ajla. I knew it was going to be a physical match," Jabeur said.
"In Rome, I think for now I'm enjoying. I got used to titles very quick, so... For me, making it to the final will be such a great result for me."
Jabeur will next face Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva, who knocked out eighth seed Garbine Muguruza in a hard-fought 3-6 7-6(4) 6-1 victory.
Croatia's Petra Martic knocked out fifth seed Anett Kontaveit with a 6-2 6-3 victory while 18-year-old Coco Gauff beat fellow American Madison Brengle 6-2 6-4.