WTA Italian Open Quarterfinal Predictions Including Garbine Muguruza vs Victoria Azarenka

Elina Svitolina in action at the WTA Italian Open

Quarterfinals day at the WTA Italian Open should see plenty of entertaining tennis played on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. All eight women left in the draw will surely be desperate to gain some potentially decisive momentum ahead of the French Open, which is barely a week away. But who will reach the semifinals?

Italian Open Quarterfinal Predictions

Simona Halep vs Yulia Putintseva

Head-to-head: Halep 1-0 Putintseva

Simona Halep’s stellar defense and consistency has seen her prove too strong for Jasmine Paolini and Dayana Yastremska so far at the WTA Italian Open, with the Romanian looking to maintain the fine clay-court form that took her to the title at the Prague Open in August. But she may well need to be at her best up against Yulia Putintseva, who reached the quarterfinals at the US Open in her last outing and has also twice made it to the last eight at Roland Garros.

That said, the Kazakh has not been entirely convincing so far in Rome. In her opener, she proved far too strong for Rebecca Peterson, but she has since squandered leads against both the eighth seed Petra Martic in the second round and 10th seed Elena Rybakina in the round of 16. Putintseva was able to recover from those mental lapses, digging out three-set wins in both matches, but one suspects that a player as consistent and experienced as Halep will not prove so forgiving.

Prediction: Halep in 2
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Elise Mertens vs Karolina Pliskova

Head-to-head: Pliskova 1-0 Mertens

In their only previous meeting, Karolina Pliskova crushed Elise Mertens, dropping only three games in a one-sided affair. But Mertens arrived at the WTA Italian Open in good form, having reached the final at the Prague Open on the clay, before making the semifinals in ‘Cincinnati’ and the quarterfinals at the US Open, claiming some big wins in the process. She has maintained that fine form in Rome, beating Hsieh Su-wei, Magda Linette and Danka Kovinic, all without dropping a set.

Pliskova, the defending champion in Rome, has also impressed so far. In her opener at the Italian Open, she beat her compatriot Barbora Strycova 6-3 6-3 and backed that up with a 6-3 6-4 win over Anna Blinkova in the third round, despite some indifferent serving. She will need to improve in that department against Mertens, who is one of the better returners on the WTA Tour. But with more aces and fewer double faults, Pliskova should have enough to return to the last four.

Prediction: Pliskova in 3
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Victoria Azarenka vs Garbine Muguruza

Head-to-head: Azarenka 2-1 Muguruza

Victoria Azarenka, who arrived in Rome after a thrilling run to the title at the Western and Southern Open and the final at the US Open, began her campaign in impressive fashion, beating Venus Williams 7-6 6-2 before hammering Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-0 6-0. She was then handed a place in the quarterfinals when Daria Kasatkina was forced to retire with an ankle injury with the scores level at six games apiece in the first set.

Azarenka was quick to comfort the 23-year-old, who was understandably shaken after a nasty fall. But, whilst it was surely the last thing on Azarenka’s mind in that moment, the respite afforded by the match’s early end will surely be welcome considering how much tennis she has played in recent weeks. Especially as she faces a stern quarterfinal test in the shape of former-French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, who has played some fine tennis so far in Rome.

The Spaniard opened her campaign with a fine 6-3 6-3 win over Sloane Stephens and she then battled past Coco Gauff in three sets, before dismissing 2019 runner-up and seventh seed Johanna Konta 6-4 6-1 in just 82 minutes. But with the Belarusian in such excellent form, it is hard to see any outcome in this match other than an Azarenka win. Muguruza does have the quality to make a match of this, but expect to see Azarenka’s run continue.

Prediction: Azarenka in 3
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Elina Svitolina vs Marketa Vondrousova

Head-to-head: Svitolina 3-0 Vondrousova

Elina Svitolina may not yet have made the sort of impact that a player of her talent might at the Majors, but she has enjoyed plenty of success at the WTA Italian Open, lifting back-to-back titles in Rome in 2017 and 2018. She did lose in the second round last season, but has gone someway to putting that to rights so far this year, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova, both in straight sets, to reach the quarterfinals.

Marketa Vondrousova, meanwhile, appears to have rediscovered the form that took her to the French Open final last season, at least to a degree. The Czech opened her campaign with a hard-fought three-set win over Misaki Doi. She followed that by dismissing Arantxa Rus 6-3 6-3 before rallying past Polona Hercog 1-6 6-1 7-6 to reach her first quarterfinal since the Adelaide International. But she has never beaten Svitolina and the Ukrainian is playing well enough to suggest that she will extend her head-to-head advantage.

Prediction: Svitolina in 3

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