Rome International Predictions
Day 6 – Rome Predictions
Halep d. Sharapova in two sets – Sharapova leads the head to head 7-1, but Halep won their previous meeting in Beijing last year, 6-2 6-2. Sharapova has fought her way to the semifinals here courtesy of three three-set victories, including an epic encounter against Ostapenko yesterday. Sharapova was mostly outhit by Ostapenko throughout the match, but found a way to comeback by increasing her aggression in the second and third sets. Halep’s quarterfinal win was way smoother as she cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Garcia. It is going to be very difficult to beat Halep on this kind of slow clay; Sharapova will need to go to town with the second serve and move Halep around the court as much as she can. After the three-hour battle yesterday, I suspect Sharapova will have little left in the tank to compete at her best…
Svitolina d. Kontaveit in three sets – Svitolina is yet to play any big hitters enroute to the semifinals so far and thus this one will be huge for her – if she’s able to beat a high-in-confidence Kontaveit, I will probably then start to label her as one of the French Open contenders. Kontaveit is having a dream run and just yesterday, crushed Wozniacki 6-3 6-1. Kontaveit will need to play her game to be able to outlast the defenses of Svitolina, while the latter will have to land as many first serves as she did against Kerber and attack whenever she has the opportunity to. I think Svitolina’s experience in the crucial moments will be a key factor.
Day 5 – Rome Predictions
Ostapenko d. Sharapova in three sets – I think we could have gotten this match-up twice already but it didn’t happen – so excited for this one now! I didn’t watch their third round matches so I’m a bit clueless on this one. Heard that Ostapenko was pretty solid and composed against Konta yesterday and the serve has been a big improvement of late, so I’m edging towards the Latvian here.
Svitolina d. Kerber in two sets – Svitolina d. Kerber in two sets – Svitolina has won their past five meetings including their last three in straights, and playing on clay will definitely not help Angie in any way. All data points point to Svitolina…
Halep d. Garcia in two sets – Garcia seems to have found back her confidence but it’ll take a superb and flawless performance to defeat the clay-loving Halep. Halep’s defenses should be too much for Garcia to handle as proven by her 3-1 head to head record over the Frenchwoman.
Kontaveit d. Wozniacki in three sets – I remember in their past meeting Kontaveit was two points away from the win before Wozniacki gritted out a huge comeback in the third round of Wimbledon. This time, I’m going for Kontaveit to notch the upset – the Estonian is clearly more comfortable on this surface and at her best she can definitely break down Wozniacki’s defence.
Day 3 – Rome Predictions
Sharapova d. Cibulkova in three sets – I remember last year I really wanted this match-up – Cibulkova had made a strong stance against Sharapova’s doping ban and thus – drama! Since last year Cibulkova’s fortunes have dramatically changed and she’s now outside of the top 30, but she’s definitely still a dangerous opponent for any player. Cibulkova needed three sets to get past Schiavone after serving for the match in the second set. It feels like confidence is at a low for the Slovakian, and it should be the reverse for Sharapova who made it to the Madrid quarterfinals last week. She seemed to struggle with the forearm against Barty yesterday, but it doesn’t seem too serious and she should be able to play some fine tennis today.
Gavrilova d. Muguruza in three sets – Gavrilova has always enjoyed playing in Rome; since first playing the tournament in 2015, she’s always managed to notch back-to-back wins in the Foro Italico. Gavrilova has been struggling of the tour of late; her serve has been a major issue, especially the increasing number of double faults. Muguruza also has been having issues, especially with her patchy forehand and unfruitful net play. If Gavrilova is able to run down many balls and make Muguruza hit one extra shot, I suspect it will result in a lot of unforced errors from the Spaniard. Gavrilova in three…
Stephens d. Kanepi in two sets – It’s a weird pick because Sloane has had many issues on court outside of the US but the heavy and slow conditions in Rome would probably not suit Kanepi. Stephens should be the mentally stronger and more consistent player.
Williams d. Vesnina in two sets – Vesnina actually leads the head to head 4-2, and also has won their past two meetings. However Vesnina’s form has been very unconvincing of late and from watching bits of her match against Siegemund, the Russian’s confidence isn’t very high right now. Venus does love playing in Rome and has a 32-12 win-loss record in the Foro Italico. She’s only played one red clay match this year though but I am not wavering with this pick.
Halep d. Osaka in two sets – Osaka recently beat Halep 6-3 6-0 in Indian Wells but this is a different situation on clay, which definitely gives the World No.1 a huge advantage. Osaka though was impressive in a 6-0 6-3 win against Vika Azarenka and that kind of form will be hard to stop. Still, I have to go with the more accomplished player on this surface…
Ka.Pliskova d. Sakkari in three sets – The heavy and wet conditions will definitely not suit the Czech and with her opponent already having one match under her belt in Rome, this will not be an easy opener for Pliskova. Sakkari will definitely try to bamboozle Pliskova with high topspin and relentless defence, but in the end the higher ranked player’s experience should come through.
Wozniacki d. Van Uytvanck in two sets – I have nothing to say if Wozniacki loses this one. Van Uytvanck is harmless on clay…
Garcia d. Babos in two sets – I watched majority of Babos’ straight-sets win over Errani and while it was good that she manage to come through in two sets, majority of the match was filled with her unforced errors and inability to return the weak Errani serve. Garcia should be way too strong for her unless she has an off day.
Vekic d. Keys in three sets – A 6-1 6-2 dismissal of Suarez Navarro on clay by Vekic sounds really impressive. Vekic seems to be playing very well at the moment and Keys is not – losing to Sorribes Tormo in straight sets last week is worrying. The wet and heavy conditions do not suit either player so this could be interesting…
Kerber d. Begu in three sets – Begu is a very good player on the dirt and she has beaten Angie in Rome before which worries me. Thinking about it more, I suspect the conditions will be very tough for Angie to deal with and I will not be surprised if this turns out in an upset…
Hsieh d. Konta in two sets – I watched both players’ opening matches so I’m pretty sure on this pick (unless Hsieh has an off day). Konta was largely patchy against Rybarikova and most net ventures were unconvincing and unnatural. Against Sabalenka, Hsieh was able to redirect pace and bamboozle her opponent with her variety and trickery. Hsieh has beaten Konta two times before so the upset seems pretty likely.
Kasatkina d. Collins in three sets – I wonder if Kasatkina will struggle against players like Collins? Interested to see the result…
Kontaveit d. Kuznetsova in two sets – Kontaveit is on fire right now and a low-in-confidence, Kuznetsova probably won’t be able to stop the Estonian train.
Krunic d. Sevastova in three sets – Both play a similar type of game and both struggle with the mental part of their game as well. A toss-up for this one.
Day 2 – Rome Predictions
Svitolina d. Martic in two sets – Since winning the Dubai title, Svitolina has been mediocre of late with subdued performances, especially in Stuttgart & Madrid. Martic has been very good of late; completely dictating play in 6-1 6-2 win over Tsurenko was really impressive. I still remember their match from RG last year where Svitolina recovered from a 2-5 deficit in the third set to reach her second Grand Slam quarterfinal. Despite disappointing losses to Garcia and CSN in her last two matches, I’m inclined to go for Svitolina, who is the more clutch player in the tight moments and the more solid player.
Ostapenko d. Zhang in three sets – I think Zhang’s level is back after a tough start to the year – encouraging runs in Prague and Madrid should have given her a confidence boost. You never know what you’re going to expect from the Latvian – I expected her to enjoy a good run in Madrid, but it ended out in a straight sets loss to Begu in her opener. Zhang will compete well so this will not be a walk in the park for Ostapenko. Once again, I think this will be a match where the higher ranked player’s clutch play in the important moments will be the key factor.
Sharapova d. Barty in three sets – Barty’s slowly starting to find her footing on clay – while a three-set loss to Wozniacki in Madrid showed she’s improving, I think the more normal clay court conditions in Rome may stumble her. I remember that Sevastova’s backhand slice caused a lot of troubles for Sharapova and Barty also has that ability to slice and dice. Still, I’m taking Sharapova’s clay court credentials and experience for the win.
Sevastova d. Mladenovic in three sets – Both have similar games (even though Mladenovic has more power) and both are comfortable on the dirt – my original pick was Kiki, but Mladenovic’s inconsistencies make me worry a little. I’m picking Anastasija in the end.
Errani d. Babos in two sets –The head to head is tied at two wins apiece, but on the clay I have to give Errani the advantage. She will be able to handle Babos’ power and have loads of time to set up her topspin shots. She always seems to thrive under her home crowd and has always done well in Rome.
Kerber d. Diyas in two sets – Kerber has never done excellently in Rome and the conditions does not suit her at all. Coming from the injury, I expect Kerber to get off to a slow start but experience should come through in the end. Diyas is 4-21 lifetime against top 15 players.
Kasatkina d. Tomljanovic in three sets – Tomljanovic has been competing well of late but I expect Kasatkina’s variety and topspin shots to come through in the end.
Kuznetsova d. Hercog in three sets – The pair just met a couple of weeks back in Istanbul where Hercog won, 6-1 1-6 7-5. I expect this to be another tight tussle with the two clay court specialists. I’m wary of Kuznetsova and her mental roundabouts but I think it’s finally time for her to get some quality wins.
Collins d. Cirstea in two sets – Collins has won her last 22 out of 28 matches – while most Americans do not seem to like playing on the clay, Collins qualified for both main draws in Madrid and Rome and I do think her game does match up with the clay. Meanwhile, Cirstea is 7-10 for the year and has only won two matches on clay since Roland Garros last year.
Hsieh d. Sabalenka in three sets – Both players’ level can fluctuate from time to time but if both are playing at a high level, this will be an extremely fun match. Hsieh’s trickery could cause Sabalenka a lot of problems but her serve is a weakness and Sabalenka will definitely go to town with the second serve. Torn but going for the Taiwanese…
Bertens d. Sakkari in three sets – The pair just met in Madrid last week where Bertens won, 6-4 6-4. I suspect conditions in Rome will be more to Sakkari’s liking and Bertens will definitely feel some fatigue coming from a long week in Madrid. Bertens though is really strong on clay and I think she’ll persevere on.
Siegemund d. Vesnina in two sets – Vesnina has had a really tough season so far and after dropping her IW points, she is now No.44 in the rankings. Clay is not Vesnina’s surface and on the other hand, Siegemund is a force to be reckoned with on the dirt…
Begu d. Peng in two sets – Begu and clay is a match made in heaven. An injury-riddled Peng probably won’t be able to stop her.
Day 1 – Rome Predictions
Azarenka d. Osaka in two sets – Osaka hasn’t really been able to get her game going after winning Indian Wells. Azarenka is the more experienced player on the clay and after an early exit in Madrid, she should have had more time to adjust to the typical clay conditions in Rome.
Pavlyuchenkova d. Keys in three sets – Both players are having tough seasons – Pavlyuchenkova has only notched four match wins, while Keys continues to struggle with injury and just split with her original coach after a horror exit to Sara Sorribes Tormo in Madrid. Keys has made the final in Rome before but she’ll need some time to adjust after the split with her coach.
Cibulkova d. Schiavone in three sets – Schiavone will play her first match since Indian Wells after an injury layoff. Cibulkova herself has endured many inconsistencies since 2017 and thus I think this one could be a tight affair. While Schiavone is the more comfortable player on this surface, I think she will be unable to handle Cibulkova’s power and aggression in the end.
Konta d. Rybarikova in two sets – This is a repeat match-up from Madrid where Konta won, 6-3 7-5. I think Konta will be able to handle Rybarikova’s funky game and her aggression will pay off in the end.
Krunic d. Vinci in two sets – This will be Vinci’s last tournament of her glittering career and though I would like to see her do well here, she has never been able to perform well in front of her partisan crowd. Krunic will be able to expose Vinci’s weaknesses with her clay court credentials.
Kanepi d. Rosatello in two sets – I’ve never heard of Rosatello till today…
Suárez Navarro d. Vekic in three sets – Vekic has been performing well of late but against Suarez Navarro on this surface, I think she will just fall short.
Stosur d. Van Uytvanck in two sets – Stosur’s level has been extremely up and down these days but I don’t think Van Uytvanck can capitalise; she’s never been able to notch good results on the dirt.
Martic d. Tsurenko in three sets – Tsurenko skipped the American spring swing and her recent match, last week in Madrid was a 1-6 2-6 defeat to Petra Kvitova. Tsurenko’s defensive skills should cause some problems for Martic but I believe she can solve them; she’s been playing really well of late.
Zhang d. Buzarnescu in three sets – I think the run to the Prague semifinals gave a huge confidence boost to Zhang. I’m pretty on the fence with this…
Gavrilova d. Vikhlyantseva in three sets – Vikhlyantseva should have had loads of time to adjust to the conditions having come from qualifying. Gavrilova has had a lot of struggles of late but always seems to bring her game to the Eternal City. Gavrilova for me.