Day 4 at the WTA Italian Open will conclude the second round. Looking to move on the the Round of 16, seeds Anett Kontaveit, Marketa Vondrousova, Petra martic, Garbine Muguruza, Johanna Konta, and Kiki Bertens will be in action. There are some great matches on deck. Who will move be moving on and who will be sent packing? At LWOT, we are predicting all eight of the Day 4 matches–four in this article, and four in a second article.
WTA Italian Open Day 4 Predictions
Arantxa Rus vs Marketa Vondrousova
Head to Head: First Meeting
Marketa Vondrousova hasn’t had an easy pass in Rome. Misaki Doi was able to find a way into the Vondrousova game, pushing last year’s French Open finalist to a decider. The Czech is certainly short of the results she experienced in 2019, perhaps due in part to her wrist surgery. Yet, Vondrousova enjoyed her first win on clay in her opener. Can she create a streak? Qualifier Arantxa Rus will do her best to stop it.
Rus has made her way from the ITF to a focused WTA tour player. Still relegated to qualifiers to reach a main draw spot, the Dutchwoman dropped just five games en route to her first round clash with Iga Swiatek. She impressed in her straight sets win over the young Pole. But, will she have enough tools to dismiss the #12 seed? It’s likely Vondrousova will see her off, but not without a fight. Expect this one to go the distance.
Prediction: Vondrousova in 3
Yulia Putintseva vs Petra Martic
Head to Head: Putintseva 1-0
After her US Open dismissal at the hands of Yulia Putintseva, Petra Martic will be looking to even the score. Certainly a jack of all trades, Martic has yet to master one. The Croat has been able to thwart many an opponent with her variety – from carefully crafted drop shots to slices. A decent serve helps her get the point started, then allows her to execute her all-court game. Unfortunately, there’s no big weapon and that makes it difficult for Martic to command during the later stages of tournaments.
Putintseva’s win at the US Open isn’t all that surprising. She can go toe to toe with the best of them on any given day. It’s her inconsistency which makes her a hit-or-miss rival. When she’s playing at her best, her strong baseline game puts her in control. Then, the Kazakh can throw in some well-disguised drop shots ending the point. Mental fortitude will be her biggest challenge, and when she loses that laser sharp focus, it’s all over for Putintseva. Certainly, she’ll have a confidence in this one – and will look for a repeat of her US Open success. I think she’s got favored hand in this one, but it will take a decider to send the #8 seed home.
Putintseva in 3
Danka Kovinic vs Elise Mertens
Head to Head: Mertens 1-0
Danka Kovinic has notched a few big wins in Rome, making a believer out of me. The Montenegrin dropping only one game in her opener against Germany’s Julia Goerges. She followed that by giving up just four games to the #6 seed, Belinda Bencic. Next up is Dutchwoman Elise Mertens who is in a career best form. Mertens has had the answer for nearly any opponent. It would be shocking to see the eleventh seed fall this early in Rome.
Prediction: Mertens in 2
Kiki Bertens vs Polona Hercog
Head to Head: Tied 1-1
Kiki Bertens will need a bit of time to shake off the rust and find that fabulous pre-pandemic form. Bertens won the St. Petersburg Open and reached the fourth round of the Australian Open before the coronavirus halted the WTA tour. Resuming tennis on a surface the Dutchwoman favors will certainly be in her favor. Bertens will be looking to better last year’s run to the semifinals.
Polona Hercog also favors this surface. After all, her three titles have all come on clay. The Slovenian won a hard-fought opener against compatriot Kaja Juvan. That battle suggested that the more experienced Hercog simply hasn’t found her form. If Bertens had more matches under her belt, I would expect this to quickly go in favor of the Dutchwoman. Since Bertens is just returning and will need time find her rhythm, I expect she’ll be forced to a decider.
Prediction: Bertens in 3
Main Photo from Getty.