Day 3 at the WTA Italian Open begins second round play. We’re getting a good feel for how players’ games are transitioning from the hard courts to the red clay in Rome. Seeded players Alison Riske and Donna Vekic have had their campaigns cut short. Who will make it to the third round? We at LWOT will be predicting all eight matches for Wednesday–four in this article, and four in a second article.
WTA Italian Open Day 3 Predictions
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 Belorussian 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
Belinda Bencic vs Danka Kovinic
Head to Head: Kovanic 1-0
Really, you can flip a coin to predict this match’s winner. In what should have been a resounding victory, Germany’s Julia Goerges got a mere game in her startling defeat to qualifier Danka Kovinic. The Montenegrin dominated during the Eastern European Championship, winning 10 matches, of which eight came in straight sets.
Belinda Bencic is considered the higher-ranked player. Yet, Kovanic’s high level of play should serve as a warning to the Swiss. The World #10 has played in four tournaments post-resumption, three of which occurred on clay. An 8-1 record is quite impressive. However, Kovanic should be considered a serious threat, capable of breaking down Bencic’s defenses and hitting with pace and accuracy. The slightest edge goes to Bencic who has much more experience and a higher tennis IQ. It might be a challenge, but the Swiss should be able to figure this one out.
Prediction: Bencic in 2
Dayana Yastremska vs Amanda Anisimova
Head to Head: First Meeting
It took two tiebreakers for Yastremska to edge past Italian Camila Giorgi. Perhaps a relief that she got through this clash after losing to Giorgi in the last meetup. Since Adelaide, Yastremska’s form has been lacking. It leaves you wondering where the meteoric teen shooting up the rankings went … and can she come back? We see flashes of Yastremska’s brilliance but not enough consistency to call her a threat.
Amanda Anisimova passed the first test, defeating World #27 Donna Vekic in two tiebreakers. While it was a stern test, it’s quite possibly the best thing that could have happened for the American. The teen has been handed a tough draw, now set to square off against Yastremska. Anisimova has already demonstrated that she can keep her mettle during tough contests. And, she has enough to make it through this round.
Prediction: Anisimova in 2
Elina Svitolina vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Head to Head: Pavlyuchenkova 3-1
Pavlyuchencova clearly leads this head to head. Those powerful, flat ground strokes leave Svitolina watching the ball whiz past. Combine that with the fact that the Ukrainian hasn’t played a match since March, it would appear to be a one-sided affair. However, it will not be a straightforward victory for the Russian.
Svitolina is a true claycourter, achieving some of her best performances on this surface. She’ll find more opportunities to engage the Russian on this slower surface, counteracting the Pavlyuchenkova pace. It won’t take long for Svitolina to find her footing, and use her defensive prowess to engage the Russian in long rallies. No doubt, we’re in store for quite a battle. Yet, it’s Svitolina who can wrestle this match away from the veteran.
Prediction: Svitolina in 3
Simona Halep vs Jasmine Paolini
Head to Head: First Meeting
This is a great opportunity for Simona Halep to narrow the gap for the coveted World #1 spot currently held by the absent Ashleigh Barty. Building up some ranking points in Rome would certainly help the Romanian build, as she was exited in the second round in last year’s edition. Only one tournament played since the Tour resumed may question Halep’s tournament readiness. However, Halep claimed the Prague Open title, demonstrating that she in form.
Jasmine Paolini commanded in her win against a struggling Anastasija Sevastova. What was expected to be an easy opener for Sevastova left her with but five games throughout the match. Paolini has moved from #215 into the Top 100 on the WTA. An impressive first round win will give Paolini some confidence coming into this match. And, the wildcard Italian will need every bit of that momentum as she’s facing an elite player. Paolini will leave a mark, but won’t get the win.
Prediction: Halep in 2
Main Photo from Getty.