Day 5 takes us into the quarterfinals at the WTA Italian Open. We’ve seen some amazing tennis, with Victoria Azarenka continuing her flawless form. 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
Danka Kovinic vs Elise Mertens
Head to Head: Mertens 1-0
Danka Kovinic earned the biggest win of her career in Rome, crushing sixth seeded Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour. It’s been an impressive run for the Montenegrin who came through qualifiers. In what will be her sternest test yet, Kovinic is set to clash with Belgain Elise Mertens.
Mertens has been making deep runs since tennis restarted, Palermo notwithstanding. Her level of intensity and focus match her exceptional form. Mertens has reached the quarterfinals or better in three out of the four tournaments played. She has not rust to shake off, and will be more than ready for this bout.
Prediction: Mertens in 2
Garbine Muguruza vs Johanna Konta
Head to Head: Tied 2-2
Garbine Muguruza is coming off a long bout with American Coco Gauff. The ninth seed was finally able to come through in the third set, thanks in part to Gauff’s double faults. The Spaniard hasn’t spent much time on the courts and fatigue may be a factor against Johanna Konta.
Konta’s performance has been a bit erratic. The Brit lost her first round to Marie Bouzkova at the Top Seed Open. In the relocated Cincinnati Open, Konta reached the semifinal where she fell to Azarenka. She had a shaky start against countrywoman Heather Watson in the first round of the US Open, then was sent packing in the second round in a three set skirmish with Sorana Cirstea.
Neither Muguruza nor Konta is playing with any consistent form. Konta has the ability to step inside the baseline and take control of the rallies. That will give her a slight edge against the fatigued Muguruza, but expect this to go to 3.
Prediction: Konta in 3
Sveta Kuznetsova vs Elina Svitolina
Head to Head: Svitolina 3-1
After a poor showing in Istanbul, Kuznetsova has been spot on in Rome. In both matches, the Russian dropped the first set, but was able to close it out in the decider. Svitolina is the fourth seed in Rome and should prove the biggest challenge yet for Kuznetsova.
Svitolina is playing in her first tournament since March. The Ukrainian seems to be shaking off the rust and acclimating well to the clay. After all, Svitolina has won this tournament twice. The head to head favors Svitolina, with the last two wins in 2018 and 2019.
This will be a skirmish comprised of two consistent baseliners. It will be hallmarked by long rallies so the edge goes to Svitolina whose movement and endurance should surpass the Russian’s.
Prediction: Svitolina in 3
Elena Rybakina vs Yulia Putintseva
Head to Head: First Meeting
Yulia Putintseva will need to be careful not to let any mental lapses slip into this match. Sure, she was able to recover against Petra Martic and eventually close out the Croat. Against her big hitting compatriot, Elena Rybakina, there will be few second chances.
This is an interesting matchup between Rybakina’s power and Putintseva’s counterpunching. It won’t be a straightforward win for either. There will be some lengthy rallies with points won on very different terms. Look for Putintseva to keep the ball in play long enough to execute a point-ending dropshot. On the other side, Rybakina will command with her serve and effortless power off both wings. The slight edge goes to Rybakina who will not squander any lead she earns.
Prediction: Rybakina in 3
Main Photo from Getty.