Some tennis fans seem to claim there is no depth in women’s tennis. The easiest counterargument: Wednesday’s WTA schedule at Rome, which is jam-packed with action that there’s barely going to be time to breathe. The most exciting of all of these clashes has to be Simona Halep taking on Angelique Kerber. Who do you think will advance?
In addition to this article, we predict the rest of Wednesday’s slate, split between three other articles. One features Serena Williams vs Nadia Podoroska, the second highlights Ashleigh Barty vs Yaroslava Shvedova, and the third features Naomi Osaka vs Jessica Pegula.
WTA Rome Day 3 Predictions
Maria Sakkari vs Cori Gauff
Head-to-head: Sakkari 2-0
Could this be more interesting than the past two matches they played with each other? Maria Sakkari completely dominated this matchup both at Cincinnati and Abu Dhabi this year, not allowing the young American to play the match on her own terms at all. The Greek was more convincing in Madrid and should once again have everything on her racket by overpowering Cori Gauff.
Prediction: Sakkari in 2
Garbine Muguruza vs Bernarda Pera
Head-to-head: First meeting
Bernarda Pera suddenly discovered a rich vein of form in Madrid, making the second round as a qualifier and losing a fantastic match to Belinda Bencic. She is not slowing down at all in Rome, once again qualifying and defeating Tamara Zidansek in the opening round. Garbine Muguruza still comes in as a big favorite for this clash as any doubts about her form following the retirement in Charleston were easily put away by a brilliant win over Patricia Maria Tig. Pera isn’t to be underestimated but the Spaniard should still power through.
Prediction: Muguruza in 3
Petra Martic vs Kristina Mladenovic
Head-to-head: Martic 5-2
This rivalry dates back to 2013, but Petra Martic has the clear upper hand both overall and on clay. One of their matches on the dirt was a thrilling contest at Istanbul, the other one a straightforward victory at Roland Garros. This surface allows Martic to display her variety to its fullest extent and she should be able to keep Kristina Mladenovic guessing. The Frenchwoman can be very mercurial in terms of her level but a final round of qualifying loss to Vera Zvonareva doesn’t bode too well for her chances here.
Prediction: Martic in 3
Simona Halep vs Angelique Kerber
Head-to-head: Kerber 6-5
Just one of the eleven head-to-head matches between these two legends has been played on clay. At the 2018 Roland Garros, Simona Halep won 6-7 6-3 6-2 and went on to win her first Grand Slam title. The surface should make a very big difference in this rivalry. For Angelique Kerber, this is the only one on which she doesn’t hold a Major title. Meanwhile, her Romanian opponent is widely regarded as the best clay-court player of the past decade. Halep’s fantastic court coverage and counterpunching really get a chance to shine on the dirt and it would take a tremendous performance from Kerber to take her out.
Prediction: Halep in 2
Main Photo from Getty.