After yesterday’s rain out in Rome, today’s jam-packed schedule is a tennis enthusiast’s dream. Oh, to be a ticket holder today! So, who will we see in the quarterfinals? Here’s a look at four of the contenders.
WTA Italian Open Day 4 Predictions
Naomi Osaka vs Mihaela Buzarnescu
Head to head: Osaka 1-0 Buzarnescu
Mihaela Buzarnescu moved past the #16 seed, Julia Gorges, in the Round of 32. After splitting sets, Gorges retired at 4-4 in the third, sending Buzarnescu on to her meeting with Naomi Osaka. It was a solid performance from Buzarnescu, who broke five times, but double faulted six. The veteran Romanian will need to sharpen up that serve to have any chance against the World #1.
Naomi Osaka has struggled with form since the Australian Open. However, it looks as though she’s regaining that champion form. The inconsistent Osaka serve has become rock solid, finding 13 aces in this morning’s match against Dominika Cibulkova. Now winning 73% of her first serve points, Osaka is in fine form and should easily move on to the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Osaka in 2
Victoria Azarenka vs Garbine Muguruza
Head to head: Azarenka 1-1 Muguruza
Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza meet in the Round of 16. Azarenka is riding a wave of confidence after her win over defending Italian Open titleholder Ellina Svitolina. It’s Vika’s grit and competitive nature which propels her to victory. When she’s down, don’t count her out, as Azarenka can find winners from nearly anywhere on the court.
Garbine Muguruza came through against American Danielle Collins in slightly more than two hours. The Spaniard claimed seven breaks of serve, while giving up five. It’s the double faults that Muguruza will need to clean up, as Azarenka will capitalize on any sloppy points.
This will be a very competitive match featuring two players who seem to be playing their best. Azarenka has the determination and the strategy to see the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2
Carla Suarez Navarro vs Kiki Bertens
Head to head: Suarez Navarro 2-1 Bertens
Kiki Bertens seems almost unstoppable. Coming off her Madrid title, the Belgian is confident, in form and clearly capable of lifting the trophy in Rome. While American Anisimova was able to push her to a third set, Kiki came through. Winning 70% of points on her first serve and breaking eight times, Bertens dismissed the teenage rising star. Four double faults should cause no concern, as Bertens can come right back with an ace to erase that.
Carla Suarez Navarro was given a gift when France’s Alize Cornet retired in the second set. It’s cut down the time the Spaniard has had to spend on court. Fatigue won’t be a factor. However, it’s doubtful Suarez Navarro can get past a red hot Bertens who’s destined for the finals in Rome.
Prediction: Bertens in 2
Johanna Konta vs Venus Williams
Head to head: Konta 3-4 Williams
After an opening round match which lasted more than three hours, Venus Williams certainly needed the rest. Thanks to Serena’s injury withdrawal, the elder Williams sister was handed a walkover and an extra day off. In Venus’ opening match, she was solid off both wings and her movement was the best it’s looked in recent matches. Maintaining that form will be crucial when she meets Britain’s #1 for her quarterfinal bid.
Konta was able to claim the win against American Sloane Stephens in just under an hour and a half. Her on-point return game allowed her to break the Stephens serve on eight occasions. The challenge is playing two matches in one day. But, the fit and in-form Brit should be up to the task. If Williams’ serve is off in the slightest, Konta will pounce.
Venus has been here so many times. And, she knows what it takes to bring in the win. I expect some momentum shifts, but I expect Venus will come through.
Prediction: Williams in 3
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