Daria Gavrilova’s Italian Open campaign came to an end at the hands of world No.9 Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets on Thursday.
Kuznetsova prevailed 6-2 2-6 6-3 to set up a clash with Serena Williams who recovered from sickness caused by eating dog food to beat Christina McHale.
Boosted with confidence after knocking out No.6 seed Simona Halep on Wednesday – her sixth win over a member of the top 10 this year – Gavrilova bounced back from a poor first set to dominate the second.
A tight start to the third set saw the former French Open champion break thanks to a fortunate net cord and she broke the 22-year-old Russian-born Melbourne-based 22-year-old again in the eighth to round out the victory.
“I was a bit tense because I didn’t know what to expect, basically,” Kuznetsova said.
“I was trying to figure out how I should play. I saw a couple games against Halep yesterday, but that was a weird match – not something to get ideas for today’s game.
“I played her before she went to Australia. I played her once in Dubai. She played totally different game. I know she’s a fighter and she brings lots of balls back, she changes the pace.
“It was difficult match.”
The gourmet food Williams ordered off the hotel room-service menu for dogs looked good enough for her to eat. So the top-ranked tennis player sampled it, and later got sick.
Williams posted a video Wednesday on Snapchat showing the salmon and rice dish she ordered for her Yorkshire Terrier at their hotel.
Noting how good it looked, she tells the camera: “I ate a spoonful. Don’t judge me!”
Williams says the bite tasted weird, “a little bit like a house-cleaner thing,” but she ate it anyway.
She said within two hours, she had to run to the bathroom. She recovered in time to beat fellow American McHale 7-6 (9-7) 6-1.
The dog, Chip, appeared fine watching Williams from her player’s box.
Williams says of the doggy menu: “I don’t think it’s consumable for humans. They should have wrote that!”
Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Daria Kasatkins 6-1 6-4; and Misaki Doi of Japan eliminated Johanna Konta of Britain 4-6 7-5 6-2.