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WTA Italian Open Day 1 Predictions Including Dayana Yastremska vs Camila Giorgi  

Dayana Yastremska in action ahead of the WTA Italian Open

This may be a clay-court season unlike any other, not least because it has been relocated to August and September, but the 77th edition of the WTA Italian Open has, as ever, attracted a stellar line-up. With Roland Garros just a week away, that is no surprise. Day one will see 24 players battle for a spot in the second round and we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for all 12 matches, including Hsieh Su-wei vs Elise Mertens and Alison Riske vs Aliona Bolsova. But who will advance?

WTA Italian Open Day One Predictions

Anastasija Sevastova vs Jasmine Paolini 

Head-to-head: first meeting

The veteran Anastasija Sevastova has enjoyed a fine career, but this has been a difficult year. The Latvian has won just two matches so far, a dreadful record even in this abbreviated season. She has also never much enjoyed the conditions at the Italian Open, having never been past the third round in Rome. But she has been handed what looks like a relatively favourable draw on paper, opening her campaign against the inexperienced Jasmine Paolini.

The Italian does look to have a bright future, having made some impressive strides this year. But she has struggled since the restart having picked up just two wins since August, although she did come close to beating Elise Mertens in Prague, taking the Belgian the distance thanks to some bold shot-making. And on home soil, even without the backing of the vocal Italian crowd, she will not want for motivation. But will that be enough to take her past the seasoned Sevastova? Probably not.

Prediction: Sevastova in 3
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Elena Rybakina vs Ekaterina Alexandrova

Head-to-head: Alexandrova 3-0 Rybakina

Ekaterina Alexandrova has certainly enjoyed her rivalry with Elena Rybakina so far, winning three out of three against the Kazakh. That is a run that Rybakina will surely be determined to stop in Rome, but she has not yet found her feet since the season resumed, losing in the first round at the Western and Southern Open, to Alexandrova, and in the second round at the US Open. Those early defeats are perhaps the result of her decision not to play during the pandemic-enforced break.

If Rybakina is rusty, there is no reason to expect the same of Alexandrova. The Russian has played four tournaments already, albeit with relatively little success. Still, she should at least be match sharp and ready to string together some victories at the WTA Italian Open. This does seem likely to be a close contest, however, but Alexandrova has dominated this rivalry for a reason. Don’t be surprised if it goes the distance, but expect Alexandrova to extend her head-to-head advantage over the Kazakh.

Prediction: Alexandrova in 3
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Magda Linette vs Jelena Ostapenko

Head-to-head: Ostapenko 2-0 Linette

It’s always a challenge to predict a match featuring Jelena Ostapenko. There is no doubting the 2017 French Open champion’s talent, but her aggressive all-or-nothing style invariably results in either a dominant win or a dismal loss. Unfortunately, there is rarely any indication which result will arrive on any given day. A defeat might be more likely in Rome, however, with Ostapenko having played relatively little tennis in 2020.

That said, whilst Magda Linette saw plenty of action in the United States, battling into the third round at the US Open, she has not yet played a clay-court tournament in 2020. Combine that lack of clay-court play with a shaky record on the surface and this looks like a winnable match for Ostapenko. Linette will give little away and will not surrender without a fight, but if Ostapenko can find her rhythm, she could end up running away with this one.

Prediction: Ostapenko in 3
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Camila Giorgi vs Dayana Yastremska

Head-to-head: Giorgi 2-1 Yastremska

The high expectations on Dayana Yastremska make her recent run of losses even more puzzling. At times, the Ukrainian looks solid enough that it seems certain that she’s heading towards the top of the game, only for her to lose her next match to the most unlikely of opponents. In short, consistency remains alarmingly elusive. One might say the same of Camila Giorgi, whose results have never quite matched her talent, despite some fine efforts.

She may feel confident heading into this bout, however, having beaten Yastremska just over a month ago on the clay at the Palermo Ladies Open, saving a match point in the process. She demonstrated there that she has the skill and quality to beat the world #25, but only if she is able to keep her unforced-error count low. Yastremska, after that narrow defeat in Palermo, should be ready for this contest and have the right plan to secure a place in the second round at the WTA Italian Open.

Prediction: Yastremska in 3

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