WTA Palermo Day 2 Predictions Including Danielle Collins vs Katharina Gerlach

Danielle Collins Australian Open

Day 2 of the WTA red-clay tournament in Palermo is here! It’s been a scintillating week of tennis so far in Italy and the action continues on Tuesday with more high-quality matchups. Who will win and who will fall short? Read on for my best guesses below! As always, we share our thoughts on every match with you. We look at four matches in this article and four in a separate article.

WTA Palermo Day 2 Predictions

Mandy Minella vs Elena-Gabriela Ruse

Head to Head: never played

Mandy Minella has had middling success since return on-court from her maternity leave. In Lausanne, she beat Varvara Gracheva in the first round before falling to eventual champion Tamara Zidansek in her next match. Against Zidansek, Minella only won 42% of her first serves, which will not be good enough against Ruse. Elena-Gabriela Ruse recently won her first WTA Tour title in Hamburg. Ruse had impressive victories over Danielle Collins and Dayana Yastremska in the semifinals and finals (respectively) to take the title. Then, in Palermo, she lost a combined 5 games in her two qualifying matches.

These two have never played before. Minella’s rally tolerance will be tested by Ruse’s solid controlled aggression. In Palermo qualifying, Ruse also held both opponents to under 30% second serves won and is doing a great job hammering opponents’ second serves. I expect Ruse to take the initiative in rallies, force Minella to defend much more than she is comfortable with, and tire her out. Ruse wins with ease.
Prediction: Ruse in 2

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Astra Sharma vs Lucrezia Stefanini

Head to Head: never played

Astra Sharma had a good performance in Lausanne, qualifying and winning a main draw match before falling in three sets to Caroline Garcia. While Sharma’s serve can be potent, she will need to improve on winning only 58% of her first serves against Garcia and getting broken six times. Lucrezia Stefanini is a wild card into this tournament, but the Italian did play some good tennis in the ITF $60k tournament in Biarritz, making the semifinals before losing to Oksana Selekhmeteva.

These two have never played before.¬†Ultimately, this matchup comes down to the fact that Sharma has significantly more power than Stefanini and her rally tolerance is high enough that Stefanini won’t be able to bank on unforced errors to get her out of trouble. Look for Sharma’s first serve to overwhelm Stefanini and for Sharma to play effective serve-plus-one tennis.
Prediction: Sharma in 2

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Lizette Cabrera vs Katarina Zavatska

Head to Head: never played

Lizette Cabrera will be looking to turn things around, as she’s currently lost four of her past five matches. Cabrera has only played one match on clay this season, losing in straight sets to Xiyu Wang. In that match, despite having a bigger serve, she only won 49% of her first-serve points and 25% of her second-serve points. Katarina Zavatska is also not playing her best tennis. Zavatska has also lost 4 of her last 5 matches, but has shown some clay-court acumen recently, qualifying for the French Open before losing to semifinalist Maria Sakkari in the first round.

These two have never played before. Cabrera hits the bigger serves and groundstrokes of the two players, but is much more erratic. On clay, that is a recipe for disaster. Look for Zavatska to do an effective job blunting the power of Cabrera and forcing the Aussie to overhit. Zavatska wins comfortably.
Prediction: Zavatska in 2

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Danielle Collins vs Katarina Gerlach

Head to Head: never played

Danielle Collins made the semifinals of the red-clay WTA Tour tournament in Budapest last week, but was forced to retire against Anhelina Kalinina. Collins appeared to have an arm injury and it was clearly affecting her serve, as she only won 49% of her service points. Katarina Gerlach qualified for Palermo, beating Lisa Pigato and Despina Papamichail. Against Papamichael, Gerlach was down *4-3 40-0 in the third set before fighting back to win 7-5 in the third. Gerlach held both opponents in qualifying to under 60% first serves won.

These two have never played before. Under normal circumstances, Collins would have way too much game for Gerlach. She hits much bigger serve and groundstrokes and would target the Gerlach one-handed backhand, forcing a lot of errors from that wing. But, with the Collins arm injury, things are much more even now. Collins is really struggling with her rally tolerance and is hitting mounds of unfrorced errors. Given that Gerlach is fairly solid from the baseline, I think she takes this match, given that Collins has looked out-of-sorts.
Prediction: Gerlach in 3

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