Top seed Barty eases into Rome third round

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Australia's Ashleigh Barty advanced to the Italian Open third round in striaght sets

World number one Ashleigh Barty advanced to the third round of the Italian Open in Rome on Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova.

Days after her shock defeat in the Madrid Open final, the Australian overcame an early break of serve to see off Shvedova, a three-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist making her way back after giving birth to twins.

Playing with her left thigh strapped, Barty dropped her opening service game but rallied to level at 4-4, taking control of the match against Shvedova on the red clay of the Foro Italico.

Barty will next meet either Russian Veronika Kudermetova, ranked 28, or France's 56th-ranked Caroline Garcia, as she bids for a first Rome quarter-final on her third appearance.

Former Rome champion Karolina Pliskova, seeded ninth, also advanced past Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-2, 6-3.

Czech Pliskova, winner in 2019 and runner-up last year, built on her powerful serve, and converted six of her 13 break point chances.

The former world number one next plays either fellow Czech Petra Kvitova or Russian Vera Zvonareva.

Fifth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine dropped a set before advancing past American Amanda Anisimova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.