Day 5 takes us into the quarterfinals at the WTA Italian Open. We’ve seen some amazing tennis so far. Eight of the seeded players remain in contention for the title. But who will move on to the quarterfinals? At LWOT, we are predicting all eight of the Round of 16 matches–four in this article, and four in a second article.
WTA Italian Open Day 5 Predictions
Anna Blinkova vs Karolina Pliskova
Head to Head: Pliskova 1-0
The defending champion meets the Russian qualifier for a spot in the quarterfinals. And, it looks like here is where Anna Blinkova’s run will end. Karolina Pliskova will have a lot of confidence heading into this match. Their last encounter was a decidedly one-way victory for the Czech. Pliskova’s big serve and penetrating groundstrokes should prove too much for the Russian.
For Blinkova, this will be her fourth match in Rome, entering the main draw through qualifiers. In contract, Pliskova will be playing just her second, having earned a first round bye. Against compatriot Barbora Strycova, the second seed needed only two sets to seal the victory. All the checks seem to be in Pliskova’s boxes in this contest.
Prediction: Pliskova in 2
Victoria Azarenka vs Daria Kasatkina
Head to Head: Azarenka 2-0
After a lengthy slump, Daria Kasatkina is finally starting to play at the level she’s capable. The Russian has moved through her matches in straight sets. In fact, Katerina Siniakova got the most games of any opponent, claiming a mere five, three of those coming from breaking the Russian’s weak serve. The Kasatkina serve is a huge liability against the best returner on tour.
Azarenka’s performance has been flawless since tennis resumed. Clever play, line painting winners, and solid returning has led the Belorussian to win 13 of her last 14 matches. In the second round, Azarenka double bageled Sofia Kenin. There is little that can stop Azarenka’s momentum right now.
Prediction: Azarenka in 2
Polona Hercog vs Marketa Vondrousova
Head to Head: First Meeting
Polona Hercog should be feeling confident after knocking out Kiki Bertens in the second round. The Slovenian stunned the fifth seeded Bertens 6-4, 6-4 in 96 minutes. Her clean game, low unforced errors and 19 winners led Hercog to the win.
Marketa Vondrousova has struggled since the tour resumed. First round exits in Palermo and the Western & Southern were followed by a second round exit at the US Open. The Czech is struggling to win behind her second serve against some of the game’s better returners. It will be important for Vondrousova to keep a high first serve percentage. Expect some wild momentum shifts as Hercog won’t go away easy.
Prediction: Vondrousova in 3
Simona Halep vs Dayana Yastremska
Head to Head: First Meeting
This will perhaps provide the challenge Simona Halep needs to ensure her games rises to the challenge for claiming another Grand Slam. The Romanian has been playing solid, but is still finding deficiencies in her serve. Giving that opening to Dayana Yastremska will be dangerous.
The Ukrainian’s hard and flat groundstrokes will require Halep to be at her defensive best. Expect Yastremska to pound in a lot of big serves and force Halep to try to run balls down. Yet, Halep has the ability to change up her shots and throw Yestremska’s rhythm off. This should be an interesting match-up between stellar defense from the Romanian and unbridled aggression from the young Ukrainian. When Halep comes through, it should bolster her confidence for the French Open title.
Prediction: Halep in 3
Main Photo from Getty.