Alexandra Dulgheru impressed me when she beat Sara Errani in the first round of the Italian Open. She backed up that good win today by taking out the defending champion and 3rd seed, Dinara Safina, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1. Safina double-faulted nine times and her service stats overall could certainly have been better. Nevertheless, Dulgheru hung in for over 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Safina, who made 51 unforced errors, will probably have to play quite a few matches before she can find her form again. Of course, it's hard to play a lot of matches when you go out so early in a tournament, but really good players have found their way back many times.
Ana Ivanovic seems to have made a fresh start in Rome, defeating Elena Vesnina in the first round and 9th seed Victoria Azarenka in the second. Ivanovic's next challenge will be Elena Dementieva.
Top seed Serena Williams faced a challenge today from Timea Bacsinszky, but prevailed 7-6, 6-1. How often do we see that scoreline when a much lower-ranked player plays a close first set? Williams' sister, Venus, is now 10-0 against Patty Schnyder, and plays Shahar Peer in the third round.
As I expected, Yanina Wickmayer had to work long and hard to win her second round match against Aravane Rezai. The score was 6-3, 6-7, 7-5. Wickmayer will play Jelena Jankovic in the third round. Jankovic defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.