It’s Day 2 at the WTA Italian Open. 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 other articles.
WTA Italian Open Day 2 Predictions
Bernarda Pera vs Svetlana Kuznetsova
Head to Head: First Meeting
Thanks to player withdrawals from Italian Open, Bernarda Pera is a straight entry into the main draw. The American tends to play well on clay; she reached the semifinals in Prague, Lausanne, and Jurmala in 2019. It’s a surface on which the lefty can excel and create problems for Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The veteran Russian is coming off the losing end of a three hour battle on clay in Istanbul. While it’s a surprising upset, credit goes to Genie Bouchard who fought for this win. Kuznetsova will be challenged again – this time with the flat ball-striking off the Pera racquet. Expect some difficulty in Kuznetsova’s return game off the lefty spin. This match will be won by the smallest margins with the cleaner player moving through.
Prediciton: Pera in 3
Katerina Siniakova vs Angelique Kerber
Head to Head: Kerber 3-0
This is perhaps the best scenario Angelique Kerber could get. Struggling to find her best form, the German hasn’t played a match on clay since 2019. The former World #1 will need some time to find her footing and will have an easier time against an opponent who has yet to beat her. This is not a power matchup. Rather, Siniakova will look for the angles and wrong-footing Kerber throughout the bout. Kerber will find her best success with her stellar defense and down-the-line shots. Kerber should have enough guile to get past Siniakova but will need to find some form fast if she hopes to have a deep run.
Prediction: Kerber in 2
Daria Kasatkina vs Vera Zvonareva
Head to Head: Zvonareva 1-0
Russians Daria Kasatkina and Vera Zvonareva square off in the first round of the Italian Open. Zvonareva will be attempting a comeback from maternity, while Kasatkina will be attempting a comeback from a dismal 2019. This is a great opening round for one of the two to regain some confidence. In 2018, Kasatkina hit the radar with a steady ranking climb, reaching as high as #10 in the world. How could have imagine that just a year later, the younger Russian would struggle to win her qualifying rounds, with the hope of a main draw berth? It’s surprising when you realize that Kasatkina is one of the best problem solvers on Tour. She’s able to deconstruct an opponent’s game, taking full advantage of their weaknesses – however slight.
Zvonareva is in the midst of a post-maternity comeback. The doubles titleholder from the US Open didn’t fare as well in the singles draw, and perhaps the stamina needed just isn’t there. The veteran has always been a fighter, and you can expect she won’t give in until the last point is earned. I see this as just too much endurance for Zvonareva. The 23-year-old problem-solver should quickly figure out that to keep Zvonareva moving will be key to depleting her energy reserves.
Prediction: Kasatkina in 3
Victoria Azarenka vs Venus Williams
Head to Head: Williams 6-2
Venus Williams is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to ever take the court. Yet, that won’t be enough to get her past a reinvigorated Victoria Azarenka. It seems the Belarusian has turned back the clock, recapturing movement, fitness, and form.
Azarenka is coming off her title at the Western & Southern and a run to the finals at the US Open. It’s been four years since Azarenka has seen 12 straight match wins. Will she arrive in Rome ready to play? The energy level may slip but you can expect her to move Venus side to side and exhaust the American’s energy.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2
Main Photo from Getty.