WTA Italian Open Day 1 Predictions Including Hsieh Su-Wei vs Elise Mertens

Elise Mertens in action ahead of the WTA Italian Open

The 2020 WTA Italian Open will begin in unusual circumstances, moved from its traditional place in the calendar to the autumn. But, with the French Open looming large on the horizon, there will be no shortage of star power on display in Rome. On day one, 24 players will battle for a spot in the second round and LWOT will be offering our predictions for all 12 matches, including Dayana Yastremska vs Camila Giorgi and Alison Riske vs Aliona Bolsova. But who will advance?

WTA Italian Open Day One Predictions

Amanda Anisimova vs Donna Vekic

Head-to-head: first meeting

It’s somewhat surprising that Donna Vekic and Amanda Anisimova haven’t met before. They arrive in Rome in similar position, with neither managing to find much by way of consistency. But Vekic did score some good wins at the US Open, beating Kristyna Pliskova and Patricia Maria Tig en route to the third round. Anisimova, meanwhile, has struggled since reaching the semifinals in Auckland in January, where she was dealt a bruising loss by Serena Williams.

She did, however, manage to reach the third round at the US Open, which should be a reminder not to underestimate the quality of the talented teenager. Not for nothing did she reach the French Open semifinals last season. At any moment, the American can find her best tennis, with her easy power and ability to redirect the ball making her a challenging foe for anyone on the Tour. Expect her to claim another statement win on the clay.

Prediction: Anisimova in 3
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Marie Bouzkova vs Ajla Tomljanovic 

Head-to-head: Tomljanovic 1-0 Bouzkova

Marie Bouzkova, currently ranked 46th in the world, has impressed since the season resumed. Her quarterfinal showing in Lexington was particularly impressive, with Bouzkova ousting the third seed Johanna Konta in the first round. She backed that up by beating Petra Kvitova in the second round at the Western and Southern Open, although she did then fall short at the US Open, exiting in the first round. She also hasn’t yet played a match on clay this season.

Ajla Tomljanovic, meanwhile, has fallen to world #59 after a difficult season. In her last match, she fell in the first round at the US Open to Angelique Kerber, which was her third consecutive defeat during the abbreviated North American summer hard-court swing. But with Bouzkova likely to struggle to find her feet on the clay, this could be the perfect opportunity for Tomljanovic to get back to winning ways, although she will likely have to go the distance to do so.

Prediction: Tomljanovic in 3

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Zhang Shuai

Head-to-head: first meeting 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova doesn’t have a great history in Rome. In fact, the big-hitting Russian has never been past the third round at the WTA Italian Open. But despite her struggles in the Eternal City, she may like her chances up against China’s Zhang Shuai, who is still looking for her first win since the season resumed. Zhang is a solid player with textbook groundstrokes, but she may struggle to impose herself against the more powerful Pavlyuchenkova. Expect the Russian to claim a confidence-boosting win.

Prediction: Pavlyuchenkova in 2
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Hsieh Su-wei vs Elise Mertens

Head-to-head: Mertens 2-1 Hsieh

Hsieh Su-wei’s game can stymie even the very best players. But this will be the Taiwanese #1’s first match since February, so it would be no surprise to see an element of rust in her game. She has also enjoyed relatively little success on the European clay, preferring faster surfaces where she can best utilise her craft and guile. Elise Mertens, in contrast, is more than at home on the ‘terre battue’ and arrives at the WTA Italian Open in fine form.

Since her shocking first-round loss at the Palermo Open, she’s been playing some excellent tennis, reaching the final at the Prague Open on clay, before making the semifinals at the Western and Southern Open and the quarterfinals at the US Open. She will now be hoping to carry that good form into Rome and Paris. And with Mertens having enjoyed the better of this rivalry, it looks likely to be a relatively straightforward outing for the 11th seed.

Prediction: Mertens in 2

Main photo:
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