Day 1 of the Italian Open created some exciting second round matches – headlined by the Williams Sisters facing off. No major upsets makes for some incredibly tough second round matches. Who else will move on to the second round? Here’s a look at four matches worth the watch on Italian Open Day 2.
WTA Italian Open Day 2 Predictions
Belinda Bencic vs Anastasija Sevastova
Head to head: No history
Belinda Bencic started 2019 on a tear. Perhaps she’s come back down to Earth. But deep runs in Charleston and Madrid clearly demonstrate the young Swiss’ prowess on clay. Regardless of the surface, Bencic is a threat at any tournament. An easy ability to attack, Bencic can stun opponents. And, up against some of the biggest hitters, Bencic’s defensive skills remain strong.
On the other side of the court, Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova has struggled on clay. Sevastova lost her opening matches in Charleston and Prague. The World #13 fared better in Stuttgart, where she pushed Petra Kvitova to three sets. In Madrid, the Latvian reached the Round of 16 before coming up against a red-hot Kiki Bertens.
The Latvian is avery capable player. But, this is really Bencic’s match to win or lose. If she’s fierce and focused, Bencic will move on to the second round with relative ease.
Prediction: Bencic in 2
Caroline Garcia vs Kristina Mladenovic
Head to head:Garcia 1-0 Mladenovic
France’s most successful former doubles team will take the court at opposite ends. Falling from a career high of World #4 in 2018, Garcia now holds the #22 spot. You can expect that ranking to climb as Garcia continues to push deep into tournaments.
Kristina Mladenovic continues her doubles success alongside partner Timea Babos, where she’s currently ranked #3. Unfortunately, Mladenovic’s singles success hasn’t yet reached that elite level. While this match will surely spark each lady’s competitive spirit, it’s really Garcia who can command the singles court.
Prediction: Garcia in 2
Maria Sakkari vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Head to head: No history
Maria Sakkari has two matches under her belt in Rome, easily eliminating Vera Zvonareva and Andrea Petkovic in qualifiers to earn her main draw spot. The newly crowned Rabat champion has been turning in impressive clay court matches – starting with Charleston, where she upended defending champion Kiki Bertens before falling to Wozniacki in the quarterfinals. While Sakkari didn’t fare well in Madrid, there’s every reason to believe she’ll make a deep run in Rome.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova hasn’t had a great start to 2019. Other than a run to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, the Russian most often sees early exits. A player of this caliber should win a lot more than her record shows. Perhaps her mental power doesn’t match that of her groundstrokes, leaving Pavlyuchenkova unable to claim titles her skills should earn. At 27 years old, is doubtful she’ll find the success the game’s rising stars are enjoying – Sakkari among them.
The 23-year-old Greek will be ready to play. Poised for a deep run in Rome, the Grecian rising star will play at her aggressive best. With no trouble, Sakkari should close out the first round.
Prediction: Sakkari in 2
Danielle Collins vs Caroline Wozniacki
Head to head: Collins 0-1 Wozniacki
With French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in her coaching camp, Caroline Wozniacki has improved her performance on the clay immeasurably. Starting in Charleston, the Dane reached the final, proving herself a true blue clay courter. Schiavone has been offering up pearls of wisdom designed to help Wozniacki lift the trophy in Paris. That’ll be a tough go, and it sure doesn’t help she starts her campaign against American Danielle Collins. But, improved clay-court play from Wozniacki gives her the best chance of her career.
While Collins’ easy power will be negated by the slower Rome courts, that’s not the only arrow in her quiver. Powerful groundstrokes, a solid serve and keen defensive skills create a real upset opportunity for the former University of Virginia stand out. And, when it comes to drive and desire, perhaps no WTA player brings the fight and the swagger as does this spunky American.
Wozniacki will need to look for every availability opportunity to go on the attack. If the counter-puncher doesn’t take advantage of offensive opportunities, Collins will craft point-ending shots and claim this match. But, I expect Schiavone’s tutelage includes an offensive onslaught that will pay off with a win.
Prediction: Wozniacki in 3
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