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Two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza sailed in the second round of Italian Open 2020 by knocking down the American Sloane Stephens in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. On a rainy day in Rome, the Spaniard Muguruza fired 22 winners and broke Stephens four times to storm into the second round of the tournament.

Up next Garbine Muguruza will play 16-year-old Coco Gauff in the second of Rome event. Gauff is making her debut in the tournament and in her first match in Rome she defeated reigning Australian Open quarterfinalist Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-3. It was Coco’s first-ever career WTA main draw victory on the clay surface.

Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – September 15, 2020 Sloane Stephens of the U.S. during her first-round match against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza Pool via REUTERS/Riccardo Antimiani

“It’s a good match, I’ve never played against her,” Muguruza shared on her match against Coco. “I’m looking forward to playing as many matches as possible. She’s playing great and she’s having a big breakthrough, so I’m looking forward to it.” 

Garbine Muguruza on court conditions

Muguruza reflected on the rainy conditions in Rome, also her play against former French Open finalist Stephens was hit by a delay after the opening set.

“It was a very tough first round,” Muguruza said. “I think I played well and I had the right game plan today against her. You never know how it’s going to go because it’s been a while since I’ve played, and it’s my first match on clay, and the conditions were difficult. 

Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – September 15, 2020, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza shields from the rain during her first-round match against Sloane Stephens of the U.S. Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

“Despite all of that, I still managed to play at a high level and stay solid throughout the match. It was unexpected because I checked the weather and it seemed like it was okay. But I just had to adapt. I knew I had a tough match against Sloane, she’s also a great player on clay.”

At US Open 2020, Garbine lost to Tsvetana Pironkova in straight sets. Bulgarian ace Pironkova was playing her first tournament in three years and she managed to topple the 10th seed Muguruza in New York.

And Stephens lost to Serena Williams in three sets in the third round.

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Italian virus survivor tells German leader: Germany saved me

MILAN (AP) — An Italian coronavirus survivor from Bergamo warmly thanked Germany’s visiting president on Thursday for lifesaving treatment he received in the eastern Germany city of Leipzig.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier met medical personnel who treated coronavirus patients during his visit to Milan, the capital of hard-hit Lombardy. But an emotional high-point was a brief exchange with Felice Perani, 57, who called Germany his new ‘’second mother’’ because ’’it gave me my life back.”

‘’If I hadn’t gone to Germany, I would have died,’’ Perani told Steinmeier, as Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella looked on. All three wore masks. German hospitals with excess capacity took in dozens of Italian patients as hospitals and intensive care wards in northern Italy were overwhelmed by the virus, with daily deaths in the thousands.

Perani said though they didn’t have a common language, the medical personnel in Germany ‘’spoke with their eyes. They were moved, and cried.’’ He said: ‘’They treated me like a son, a brother.’’

‘’This makes me so happy,” Steinmeier responded. Mattarella added, ‘’This is a beautiful story. Congratulations on your recovery.”

Steinmeier noted that Italy was his first foreign trip since pandemic travel restrictions eased. Milan was chosen as the capital of the worst-hit region by the pandemic in Italy.

During the visit, Steinmeier and Mattarella met with mayors from sister cities from the two countries, visited the Duomo cathedral and were attending a concert at Milan’s La Scala opera house celebrating the 250th anniversary of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth.

‘’The consequences of the pandemic were dramatic in all of Europe, and the (European Union) found anew its original inspiration and a great sense of responsibility. Germany’s position was decisive,’’ Mattarella said, referring to Berlin’s key role in securing EU funds to help the hardest hit countries, like Italy.


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