Simona Halep vs Elina Svitolina, Rome Final Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia, 🇮🇹🏆 Rome Final Preview
(6) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (8) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina

Saturday’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia final promises to be a an epic battle as an in-form Simona Halep comes up against a dogged Elina Svitolina at the Foro Italico. Simona Halep will be looking to capture the perfect momentum boost heading into Roland Garros by winning the Madrid/Rome double but it won’t be easy for the Romanian as Elina Svitolina has been one of the most consistent players on tour all year. The Ukrainian heads into Saturday’s final looking for her fourth and biggest title of the year.

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Garbine Muguruza vs Elina Svitolina, Rome SF Preview

Internationali BNL d’Italia, Rome SF Preview
SF #2: (3) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza vs (8) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina

Familiar foes, Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina will renew hostilities on Saturday when they meet in the second semi-final of the day at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Muguruza and Svitolina both claimed impressive quarter-final victories to move to the final four, Muguruza came past Venus Williams in three sets whilst Svitolina upset the second seeded Karolina Pliskova in straight sets to set up an intriguing semi-final showdown.

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Simona Halep vs Kiki Bertens, Rome SF Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia, 🇮🇹 Rome SF Preview
SF #1: (6) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (15) 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens

Saturday’s first semi-final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia sees a red-hot Simona Halep take on the vastly improving Kiki Bertens. Simona Halep enters this semi-final clash on a 9-match winning streak having won the Mutua Madrid Open last week. The Romanian is now the favourite heading into Roland Garros and will look to build even more momentum by winning back-to-back titles.

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Garbine Muguruza vs Venus Williams, Rome QF Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia 🇮🇹 QF Preview
(3) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza vs (9) 🇺🇸 Venus Williams

Friday’s final quarter-final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia features an intriguing battle as the third seeded Garbine Muguruza comes up against a determined Venus Williams. All eyes are on Muguruza over the coming weeks, the reigning Roland Garros champion has an opportunity to cause more damage on the red dirt over the coming months, gaining confidence in Rome will be critical for those ambitions. Clay has always been the worst surface for Venus but she has generally played well in Rome and will fancy her chances of an upset here.

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Karolina Pliskova vs Elina Svitolina, Rome QF Preview

Internazionali BLN d’Italia 🇮🇹 QF Preview
(2) 🇨🇿 Karolina Pliskova vs (8) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina

Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina will renew hostilities on Friday when they meet at the quarter-final stage of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. The contrast in styles between these two always make for an interesting clash, surprisingly Svitolina is yet to score a win over Pliskova, the Czech holds a perfect 5-0 record over the Ukrainian. Svitolina will be confident that she can reserve that trend in their first clay court meeting since 2014.

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Karolina Pliskova vs Timea Bacsinszky, Rome R3 Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia 🇮🇹 R3 Preview
(2) 🇨🇿 Karolina Pliskova vs 🇨🇭 Timea Bacsinszky

An fascinating third round clash between Karolina Pliskova and Timea Bacsinszky will end third round action on Thursday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Karolina Pliskova was the form player on tour during the first couple of months but as expected her form has dropped away as the clay court season is in full swing. Timea Bacsinszky has had a poor year but the Swiss woman always thrives during the clay court season and will see this third round clash as a big opportunity to gain a valuable victory over the world number 3.

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Elina Svitolina vs Mona Barthel, Rome R3 Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia 🇮🇹 R3 Preview
(8) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina vs (Q) 🇩🇪 Mona Barthel

Mona Barthel enters her third round clash with Elina Svitolina in Rome on a 12-match winning streak. The German came through the qualifying draw to win the title in Prague a couple of weeks ago and has again successfully advanced through the qualifying draw in Rome. Barthel will face her biggest challenge of the last couple of weeks when she faces a determined Elina Svitolina for a place in the quarter-finals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

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Johanna Konta vs Venus Williams, Rome R3 Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia 🇮🇹 R3 Preview
(5) 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta vs (9) 🇺🇸 Venus Williams

An interesting third round clash at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia sees Johanna Konta take on Venus Williams. Both Konta and Williams are not at their best on clay, both will see this match as a rare opportunity to advance to the quarter-finals of a big clay court tournament. Konta has won the last three matches between the pair, including a straight set win in Miami earlier this year.

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Serena Williams vs Madison Keys, Internazionali BNL d’Italia Final Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome Final
(1) 🇺🇸 Serena Williams vs. 🇺🇸 Madison Keys

Sunday’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia final will feature a blockbuster battle of the generations when Serena Williams comes up against compatriot Madison Keys. Serena Williams will be aiming for her first title in over 6 months, whilst Madison Keys will be aiming to win just her second career title and the biggest title of her young career. This promises to be an entertaining clash between two of the most powerful athletes on the WTA tour, the last major match before Roland Garros.

 

Serena Williams enters Sunday’s final desperate to claim her first title since Cincinnati last year. Serena hasn’t gone this long without winning a title for quite some title and will want to reverse that trend before heading to Roland Garros next week. The world number 1 has been relatively untroubled on route to the final in Rome, advancing to the final without dropping a set. Serena seems to be getting better and better this week, the three-time former champion’s 6-2 6-0 demolition of Svetlana Kuznetsova at the quarter-final stage was her best match of the tournament thus far, Serena avenged her loss to the Russian in Miami earlier this year. Serena booked her spot in the final with a comfortable 6-4 6-1 win over Irina-Camelia Begu, a solid win over an in form opponent. 

Madison Keys is into her third WTA final, her first on a clay court (red clay). It has been a wonderful week for the young American given she has always considered clay to be her least preferred surface. Keys certainly hasn’t benefited from an easy draw this week, defeating 5 quality opponents on route to the final (Andrea Petkovic, Petra Kvitova, Timea Babos, Barbora Strycova and finally Garbine Muguruza). Madison’s 7-6 6-4 upset win over Garbine Muguruza at the semi-final stage was particularly impressive. The first set was very even; it took a moment of brilliance from Keys late in the tiebreak to separate the pair. Keys was more comfortable in the second set and held her nerve well at the end of the match to record one of the biggest wins of her career.

 

Serena has won both of the previous encounters between the pair, both in straight sets. A 7-6 6-2 win at the Australian Open and a 6-3 6-3 win at the U.S Open, both in 2015. Keys showed that she has the game to compete with Serena on both occasions, particularly in the first set of their Australian Open semi-final where a somewhat injured Keys pushed Serena all the way. Sunday’s clash will be very different given it will be their first career meeting on clay court, which should favour Serena. 

I suspect a fired up Serena Williams will win this match quite convincingly. Serena has lost at the later stages of a big event on three consecutive occasions which brings added significance to this clash for the world number 1. The surface should heavily favour Serena in this match-up because she will have more time to deal with Madison’s power. Serena has far more variety to her game and has far greater movement. This is the biggest match of Madison’s career, it will be interesting to see how she handles the occasion, she should be reasonably competitive but ultimately Serena will be too strong for the young American. 

Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Madison Keys in 2 sets

Garbine Muguruza vs Timea Bacsinszky, Rome QF Preview

Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome Quarter-Final
(3) 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza vs (11) 🇨🇭 Timea Bacsinszky

Friday’s first quarter-final of the day at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia between Garbine Muguruza and Timea Bacsinszky is arguably the match of the day in Rome. Muguruza and Bacsinszky have both played at a high level in their last couple of matches and will enter this clash full of confidence. Muguruza has won the only two previous matches between the pair but will need to maintain a very high level in this quarter-final clash if she is to hold onto her unbeaten record over Bacsinszky and advance to her first semi-final of 2016. 

 

Garbine Muguruza has stormed into the quarter-finals in Rome without dropping a set. The Spaniard started her Internazionali BNL d’Italia campaign with a comprehensive 6-1 6-0 thumping of Ekaterina Makarova. Garbine produced a near flawless performance in her win over Makarova, hitting 20 winners to just 5 unforced errors on route to a 47-minute win. Muguruza wasn't as dominant in her third round win over Jelena Ostapenko but was still good enough to record a comfortable 6-1 6-4 win. Muguruza is yet to reach a semi-final in 2016 so she will be desperate to continue her run in Rome and finally push towards contending for her first title of the year.

Timea Bacsinszky is looming as a very dangerous opponent for Muguruza. Bacsinszky is also in great form having won 10 of her last 11 matches. The Swiss number 2 was untroubled in her first two matches in Rome, recording straight set wins over Yanina Wickmayer and Lesia Tsurenko. Bacsinszky’s most impressive win of the week was an extremely hard-fought 5-7 7-5 6-2 win over Carla Suarez Navarro. Bacsinszky was behind for the majority of the match, Carla served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but Bacsinszky really raised her level and took complete control of the match in the deciding set. Timea once again made it clear that she is undoubtedly one of the toughest competitors on WTA tour.

 

Garbine Muguruza has a 3-0 head-to-head record over Timea Bacsinszky. All three victories came in 2015, a three set win at the Australian Open and straight set wins at Wimbledon and later in the year in Beijing. Interestingly, all three matches were on a fast surface. Their first clash on clay will be a very different match, a surface that probably favours Bacsinszky. This looks like a good chance for Timea to claim her first win over Muguruza.

I’m going to side with Bacsinszky on this occasion. This is the perfect surface for Bacsinszky to play Muguruza on, Timea loves to play on clay and is clearly in great form. Muguruza is also very comfortable on clay and has also played a couple of good matches this week but her ability to maintain a high level throughout tournaments is questionable, her recent record suggests she is due for a poor match. Overall, Bacsinszky is a far more consistent player and a far more reliable competitor and will probably have the edge in a close match.

Prediction: Timea Bacsinszky to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 3 sets


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