Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova and Maria Sharapova lead the field at the 2017 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, the last major clay-court event before the French Open, live from 14-21 May: WTA tennis live from Rome.
Internationali BNL d'Italia 2017 tournament schedule
Rome 2017 tournament schedule
Who is playing WTA Rome in 2017?
Played just two weeks before the French Open begins, the Internazionali BNL d'Italia is the last key battleground ahead of Roland Garros and one of the highlights of the WTA's European clay-court season, alongside Stuttgart's Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and the Mutua Madrid Open, the latter of which is held the week before Rome.
As such, the Internazionali BNL d'Italia isn't just an important warm-up event for the French Open, but a significant prize in itself and the Premier-5 event always attracts a strong field. The 2017 edition, beginning on Monday 15 May, is no exception with current world no. 1 Angelique Kerber leading the field.
Clay. with the exception of Stuttgart where she is a two-time champion, has never been Kerber's strongest surface so there will be plenty of opportunity for other players, including world no. 3 Karolina Pliskova, the 2016 US Open runner-up looking for her first Rome title, and 2014 French Open runner-up Simona Halep.
Former runners-up at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia who will be hoping to go one better in 2017 include young, powerful American Madison Keys, who lost to Serena Williams in the 2016 final; Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova; Samantha Stosur, Carla Suarez Navarro and Italy's own Sara Errani.
Three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova will be in the field courtesy of a wildcard as she looks to rebuild her ranking after her 18-month doping suspension. The Foro Italico has been a happy hunting-ground for her in the past - will Sharapova shine again in Rome? Another former champion, Venus Williams, will look to continue her resurgence too, as will Caroline Wozniacki, already a finalist at three WTA events in 2017.
Defending French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and WTA Finals Singapore winner Dominika Cibulkova are among the other stars scheduled to appear when the 2017 Internazionali BNL d'Italia begins on Monday 15 May.
Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2017 WTA seeds
Check back here for a definitive list of seeds when the draw for the 2017 Internazionali BNL d'Italia is released.
About the Internazionali BNL d'Italia
Unlike the bright, ultra-modern Mutua Madrid Open played at the Caja Magica, the Internazionali BNL d’Italia is all about tradition and has a good claim to be considered the second most prestigious clay-court event in tennis behind the French Open.
The roots of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia stretch back to 1930 when Spain’s Lili de Alvarez won the first Italian national championships. Played in Milan for four years, the tournament moved to the iconic, Benito Mussolini-built Foro Italico venue in northern Rome in 1935 and has been played there for all but three years since.
The women’s event was held two weeks before the men’s for many years before the events were combined in 2011, meaning that the Internazionali BNL d’Italia now comprises a Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5, all but guaranteeing the presence of all of tennis’s biggest stars for a stellar week of top-flight tennis.
While the list of champions at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia includes such luminaries as Maureen Connolly, Althea Gibson, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters, nobody has won more titles in Rome than 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert. Evert leads the list of all-time Internazional BNL d’Italia winners with five titles, and has also appeared in the most finals (seven). Gabriela Sabatini and Conchita Martinez, who holds the record for most consecutive titles and finals, follow Evert closely with four Internazionali BNL d’Italia crowns to their credit.
Several active players have at least one WTA Rome title on their resume, starting with Venus Williams, who defeated Hingis in the 1999 final. Former world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic won back-to-back Rome titles in 2007-8, just the fourth woman to do so at the Foro Italico, and one-time winners Dinara Safina (2009) and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (2010) followed suit.
Defending champion Maria Sharapova tied Serena Williams for most Italian Open titles held by an active player in 2015 when she won her third Rome crown: Her three-set victory over Carla Suarez-Navarro came after she defeated Sam Stosur in 2011 and Li Na in 2012. Williams, meanwhile, took her first title in Rome in 2002, and returned to the winners’ circle 11 years later in 2013, defeating Victoria Azarenka. Williams followed that victory up by a dominant win in 2014, taking out Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals and home favourite Sara Errani in the final. In 2015, she was forced to withdraw from the event with an elbow injury after round three, allowing Sharapova to get on level terms, but surpassed the Russian when she returned in 2016 to win her fourth title, beating younger compatriot Madison Keys in the final - while Garbine Muguruza foreshadowed her run to the French Open title two weeks later by making the semifinals.
Internazionali BNL d'Italia tournament information
|Dates||14-21 May 2017|
|Surface||Red clay (outdoors)|
|ATP category||Masters 1000|
|WTA category||Premier 5|
|Draw size (men)||56 singles/24 doubles|
|Draw size (women)||56 singles/28 doubles|
|Prize money (men)||€4,300,755|
|Prize money (women)||€2,399,000|
|Most titles (men)||Rafael Nadal (7)|
|Most titles (women)||Chris Evert (5)|
|Reigning men's singles champion||Novak Djokovic|
|Reigning women's singles champion||Serena Williams|
|Reigning men's doubles champions||Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan|
|Reigning women's doubles champions||Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza|
Previous Internazionali BNL d'Italia champions
|1968||Lesley Turner (2)||Margaret Court|
|1969||Julie Heldman||Kerry Melville|
|1970||Billie Jean King||Julie Heldman|
|1971||Virginia Wade||Helga Niessen Masthoff|
|1972||Linda Tuero||Olga Mozorova|
|1973||Evonne Goolagong||Chris Evert|
|1974||Chris Evert||Martina Navratilova|
|1975||Chris Evert (2)||Martina Navratilova|
|1976||Mima Jausovec||Lesley Hunt|
|1977||Janet Newberry||Renata Tomanova|
|1978||Regina Marsikova||Virginia Ruzici|
|1979||Tracy Austin||Sylvia Hanika|
|1980||Chris Evert (3)||Virginia Ruzici|
|1981||Chris Evert (4)||Virginia Ruzici|
|1982||Chris Evert (5)||Hana Mandlikova|
|1983||Andrea Temesvari||Bonnie Gadusek|
|1984||Manuela Maleeva||Chris Evert|
|1985||Raffaella Reggi||Vicki Nelson-Dunbar|
|1987||Steffi Graf||Gabriela Sabatini|
|1988||Gabriela Sabatini||Helen Kelesi|
|1989||Gabriela Sabatini (2)||Arantxa Sanchez Vicario|
|1990||Monica Seles||Martina Navratilova|
|1991||Gabriela Sabatini (3)||Monica Seles|
|1992||Gabriela Sabatini (4)||Monica Seles|
|1993||Conchita Martinez||Gabriela Sabatini|
|1994||Conchita Martinez (2)||Martina Navratilova|
|1995||Conchita Martinez (3)||Arantxa Sanchez Vicario|
|1996||Conchita Martinez (4)||Martina Hingis|
|1997||Mary Pierce||Conchita Martinez|
|1998||Martina Hingis||Venus Williams|
|1999||Venus Williams||Mary Pierce|
|2000||Monica Seles (2)||Amelie Mauresmo|
|2001||Jelena Dokic||Amelie Mauresmo|
|2002||Serena Williams||Justine Henin|
|2003||Kim Clijsters||Amelie Mauresmo|
|2004||Amelie Mauresmo||Jennifer Capriati|
|2005||Amelie Mauresmo (2)||Patty Schnyder|
|2006||Martina Hingis (2)||Dinara Safina|
|2007||Jelena Jankovic||Svetlana Kuznetsova|
|2008||Jelena Jankovic (2)||Alize Cornet|
|2009||Dinara Safina||Svetlana Kuznetsova|
|2010||Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez||Jelena Jankovic|
|2011||Maria Sharapova||Samantha Stosur|
|2012||Maria Sharapova (2)||Li Na|
|2013||Serena Williams (2)||Victoria Azarenka|
|2014||Serena Williams (3)||Sara Errani|
|2015||Maria Sharapova (3)||Carla Suarez Navarro|
|2016||Serena Williams (4)||Madison Keys|
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