World #1 Ashleigh Barty looks to continue her spectacular clay court swing on Thursday in Rome. The Aussie has lost just one match on the surface since her victory at Roland Garros in 2019. Joining her in the day’s action are the likes of reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek as well as former Grand Slam winners Jelena Ostapenko and Angelique Kerber. We take a look at who should make the quarterfinals in our WTA Rome Day 4 predictions. We also predict the rest of the day’s matches in a second article.
WTA Rome Day 4 Predictions
Ekaterina Alexandrova vs Jessica Pegula
Head-to-head: First meeting
Both of these players have played good tennis to make it to the third round in Rome. However, it is undoubtedly Jessica Pegula who has the greater confidence and is at the higher level of the two at the moment. The American secured her fifth top ten win of the year in her last match when she beat Naomi Osaka in straight sets. Osaka is not at her best on clay, but the win was thoroughly impressive nonetheless. Ekaterina Alexandrova benefitted from a walkover in her last match and I think that may hurt her here. The Russian is streaky and not as comfortable on clay as she is other surfaces. Pegula should make her play enough balls to draw errors and take the win in this one.
Prediction: Pegula in 2
Iga Swiatek vs Barbora Krejcikova
Head-to-head: 1 – 0 Swiatek
Both Swiatek and Barbora Krejcikova charged up the WTA rankings with stunning runs at last year’s French Open. Since then, Swiatek has confirmed her place amongst the best players on the women’s tour with a title in Adelaide this year. Occasionally she is off the ball, but she is still a teenager and frighteningly good for someone her age. Krejcikova is dangerous on her day, particularly on clay. However, she is not as capable when forced to defend and she will certainly be doing a lot of that this match. Swiatek has bigger weapons and moves better on the clay than the Czech does. Expect the teen sensation to keep her dream year going with another win here.
Prediction: Swiatek in 2
Angelique Kerber vs Jelena Ostapenko
Head-to-head: 1 – 0 Kerber
This could make for a very entertaining match. Kerber at her best is a brick wall that cannot be moved, while Ostapenko has the ability to hit anyone off the court. If both bring their best then this may well be a case of immovable object meets unstoppable force. That being said, Kerber’s defense should be good enough to draw errors from Ostapenko. If the German can be aggressive when she needs to be she should take this. Particularly given that she has shown that willingness to be aggressive much more in 2021 than she did last year. This match will likely go the distance, but I expect the three-time Grand Slam Winner to advance here.
Prediction: Kerber in 3
Ashleigh Barty vs Veronika Kudermetova
Head-to-head: First meeting
It says a lot about Barty’s level so far this year that a player of Veronika Kudermetova’s quality is such a big underdog in this match. However, the only match the Aussie has lost on clay this year was to Aryna Sabalenka in the WTA Madrid final. Sabalenka played some of the best tennis seen on the women’s tour this year in Madrid. That’s the level needed to beat Barty at the moment. Kudermetova is a great player off both wings with a good serve, but she doesn’t have that level in her yet. Barty might be due a lull, but with the tennis she has been playing it’s hard to see that happening. Take the Aussie to keep on racking up wins with another one here.
Prediction: Barty in 2
Main Photo from Getty.