It’s Day 2 at the WTA Italian Open in Rome. Players continue to find their footing in Rome during the abbreviated clay court season. It’s the last tournament to gain momentum going into the French Open. We at LWOT will be predicting all of the Day 2 matches–four in this article, plus two additional articles.
WTA Italian Open Day 2 Predictions
Ons Jabeur vs Coco Gauff
Head to Head: Gauff 1-0
Coming up against one of the in-form players is a tough start for American Coco Gauff. The teen had a great result in Lexington, falling in the semis to eventual champion Jennifer Brady. New York wasn’t so successful – a straight sets loss to Maria Sakkari in the Western & Southern and a three-set loss to Anastasija Sevastova.
Ons Jabeur is an aggressive baseliner, capable of taking control of rallies. Her impressive form this year makes this a dangerous match for Gauff. Quick footwork and power were the keys to the 16-year-old exiting Jabeur in Lexington. Despite winning that clash, Gauff has had a bit of difficulty keeping her first serve percentage up. That will be key if she intends to get past Jabeur. I think the Tunisian has gotten a good look at the Gauff game, and will be ready for her this time.
Prediction: Jabeur in 3
Yulia Putintseva vs Rebecca Peterson
Head to Head: Peterson 2-0
Yulia Putintseva reached the quarterfinals at the US Open, demonstrating great form to exit Petra Martic. It was her first quarterfinal in New York, and third Major quarterfinal. The Kazakh doesn’t yet have the weapons to challenge the game’s elite nor overwhelming power, as evidence in her clash with an in-form Jen Brady.
Across the net, Rebecca Peterson has been underwhelming. The Swede’s post pandemic performance has been lackluster, exiting Palermo, Western & Southern and the US Open in the opener. In fact, her only recent win came in the form of Margarita Gasparyan’s retirement in Istanbul. Peterson quickly lost her second round bid to Tig. The head to head leads me to believe that Peterson will find a way to grab a set. Putintseva’s form and record on clay assures me that the Kazakh moves into the second round.
Prediction: Putintseva in 3
Anett Kontaveit vs Caroline Garcia
Head to Head: Tied 1-1
Anett Kontaveit is one of the most consistent players on tour. The Estonian can easily transition from hard court to clay and should have little difficulty adjusting in Rome. After reaching the finals of the Palermo Open, Kontaveit earned three match wins in both the Western & Southern and US Open–each time falling to the US Open champion, Naomi Osaka. Back on clay, you can expect little difficulty against a very inconsistent Caroline Garcia. The Frenchwoman has a dangerous up the line shot, but Kontaveit’s movement and balance will counter that nicely.
Prediction: Kontaveit in 2
Garbine Muguruza vs Sloane Stephens
Head to Head: Stephens 2-1
I don’t give much credence to Garbine Muguruza’s early exit in New York. In a surprising upset, Tsvetana Pironkova returned from a three-year hiatus to reach the quarterfinals. It wasn’t that Muguruza played poorly. Rather, the underestimated Pironkova had a remarkable result. Muguruza started her US Open campaign with a straight set win over Nao Hibino. Any questions or a lingering injury were erased. Moving onto clay, the favorite surface of the Spaniard, should find good form in Rome.
Sloane Stephens showed some return of form in New York. It has been a dismal year for the American who lost six of seven opening rounds in 2020. Recent losses to Leylah Fernandez and Caroline Garcia suggest that Stephens isn’t playing at the high level which led her to a US Open title and a runner-up at the French Open. It’s a tough opener for Stephens, and I expect another first round exit here.
Prediction: Muguruza in 2
Main Photo from Getty.