The third round of the 2023 WTA Italian Open in Rome features some familiar foes. Anhelina Kalinina vs Sofia Kenin and Victoria Azarenka vs Madison Keys are matches that are taking place for the third time this year already. We also predict the rest of the day’s matches in a separate article. Who do you think will come out on top?
WTA Rome Day 5 Predictions
Anhelina Kalinina vs Sofia Kenin
Head-to-head: Kenin 4-2
These two have been running into each other a lot with the last three meetings all taking place within the last six months or so. They’ve never played on red clay before though, competing twice on the green dirt back in 2017. Sofia Kenin is coming off an insane win against Aryna Sabalenka. Repeating an emotional high is tough from the psychological standpoint, but maybe as a player who has already had plenty of amazing achievements, Kenin can actually manage it?
Prediction: Kenin in 3
Xiyu Wang vs Taylor Townsend
Taylor Townsend’s win over Jessica Pegula was a bit of a shocker, since the American’s all-court style and slow clay courts rarely go hand in hand. Having a unique game can really help you surprise your opposition after all. Is Xiyu Wang going to be a step too far? It’s hard to say as the Chinese is only really finding her best level right now in Madrid and Rome. The talented youngster often brings her best to the dirt though.
Prediction: Wang in 2
Magda Linette vs Beatriz Haddad Maia
Head-to-head: First meeting
Both players were eliminated by the sensational Mirra Andreeva in Madrid, but got off to a strong start in Rome so far. This one should be tight with Beatriz Haddad Maia not looking that close to her 2022 form in recent weeks. Magda Linette has the game to exploit that and might enjoy her chances absorbing and redirecting the pace that the Brazilian will try to throw at her.
Prediction: Linette in 3
Victoria Azarenka vs Madison Keys
Head-to-head: Azarenka 4-1
They’ve already played twice this year and while Victoria Azarenka was initially 4-0 up in the head-to-head, Madison Keys completely dismantled her in Dubai. In their only meeting on clay, it was the Belarusian who prevailed almost as comfortably, though. Keys is a bit of a hit-or-miss on the dirt as she can often struggle to find her range and doesn’t really have a plan B. She’ll need to be on top of her game to dispatch Azarenka.
Prediction: Azarenka in 3
Main Photo Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports