Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome R3 preview + prediction
?? (12) Marketa Vondrousova vs. ?? Polona Hercog
The final quarter-final spot at the 2020 Internazionali BNL d’Italia will be determined when the 12th seeded Marketa Vondrousova takes on Slovenia’s Polona Hercog. This will be the first career meeting between the pair on a surface that traditionally brings out the best of both players.
Vondrousova has finally won back-to-back main draw matches for the first time since Adelaide in January. The 2019 Roland Garros runner-up came through a roller-coaster opening round match where she defeated Misaki Doi 6-1 4-6 6-4. The 21-year-old claimed a more commanding victory in the second round as she eased past Arantxa Rus 6-3 6-3.
It was during last season’s European clay court swing that Vondrousova took her game to another level, winning the title in Istanbul, reaching the quarter-finals in Rome and then making it all the way to the final in Paris without dropping a set. Things haven’t been great since then for rising star, but perhaps this is the week that her fortunes will finally turn.
Polona Hercog is playing in her fourth clay court event since the tour restart, the 29-year-old is playing some decent tennis having reached the quarter-finals in Istanbul last week. Hercog started her Rome campaign with a 4-6 6-4 6-1 win over Kaja Juvan before upsetting the 5th seeded Kiki Bertens 6-4 6-4.
I’m going to side with Vondrousova here. Hercog is a powerful player on clay but Vondrousova moves better than just about anyone on this surface which will negate the strengths of Hercog. Hercog is also the type of player that relies on winning a high percentage of her service games, this will be problematic against one of the better returns of serve on tour. Vondrousova’s lefty pattern of play also plays nicely into the weaker Hercog backhand side, Vondrousova also has the power and versatility to expose the movement of Hercog. A seemingly good match-up for Vondrousova on a heavy clay court.