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.

Simona Halep’s favouritism for Roland Garros is firming with each win. The sixth seed in Rome is on a 10-match winning streak having arrived in Rome fresh of defending her title at the Mutua Madrid Open. Halep started her Rome campaign with a convincing straight set win over nemesis Laura Siegemund before requiring three sets to sneak by an in-form Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Halep has played some of her best tennis of the year in her last couple of matches, securing her spot in Saturday’s final with two straight set wins, 6-2 6-4 over Anett Kontaveit and 7-5 6-1 over Kiki Bertens.

Elina Svitolina will rise to a career high ranking as of next week, the Ukrainian will be at least number 9 in the world but will rocket up to number 6 in the world if she can capture her fourth title of the season on Saturday. Svitolina has had a few poor matches in 2017, such her a first round loss in Madrid last week but in general she has been extremely difficult to beat, that has been the case in Rome. Svitolina started the week with a hard-fought straight set win over Alize Cornet before winning 12 straight games to romp past Mona Barthel. Svitolina’s most impressive result was a 6-2 7-6 quarter-final win over Karolina Pliskova before the 22-year-old advanced to the final thanks to Muguruza retiring injured early in their semi-final match.

Surprisingly, Halep and Svitolina have only gone head-to-head on one previous occasion, way back in 2013. Halep thrashed Svitolina on that occasion, a 6-1 6-1 win in Sofia.

This should be a really close match, I’m going to side with the underdog here. There is no doubting that Halep is playing great tennis but I think this could be a bad match-up for Simona. Svitolina will enter this match feeling fresh after her quick semi-final whilst Halep is sure to be fatigued given how much tennis she has played in the last few weeks. Halep needs to be sharp in this match-up, Svitolina enjoys these types of match-ups (as her record against Kerber shows) and will make life very tough for Halep with her outstanding defensive skills. In a match that will feature a lot of long rallies I think Svitolina is more likely to remain solid whilst Halep will probably start to go for too much as she begin to tire, giving Svitolina the advantage.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Simona Halep in 3 sets


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