The Dirt Strikes Again!

The dirt has wiped-out top seed after top seed at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome-WTA). The clay surface, red-green-blue, is the most demanding physically and mentally. Whether the clay is slower (red) or faster (green) it requires more sliding, running, technique and point construction.

Americans notoriously have despised the clay. But they were not the only ones dismissed. Azarenka (3), Osaka (4), Suárez Navarro (5), Pavlyuchenkova (7), Keys (8), Stephens (9), Strycova (10). Also champions Muguruza (17) and Venus Williams (49) have been bested. Even Vandeweghe (56) who has done really well on the surface was slapped with a double breadstick by Kontaveit (55).

The quarterfinals present some pop-corn match-ups. Halep/Garcia, Sharapova/Ostapenko, Kerber/Svitolina, Kontaveit/Wozniacki. Halep has looked great, but she has only had to play one match; Osaka 6/1, 6/0. A bye and a walkover from Keys positions her well to better her 3-1 H2H with Garcia.

Sharapova has played a lot of tennis this week and both she and Ostapenko’s games are far from their peeks, but the odds are in Sharapova’s corner. They have never played before. Also Sharapova’s experience, calm, persistence  and coach Thomas Högstedt game plan maybe too much for Ostapenko. It looks to be a competitive match though.

Another snack inducing match will be Kerber/Svitolina. Svitolina has the edge in their H2H 5/7, she has had to play less this tournament and her serve is a little better. This match promises to be better than the Kontaveit/Wozniacki one. Their H2H is 1/1 but Kontaveit has looked good so I give it to her over her less aggressive opponent.

Who do you have in the quarterfinals?


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