2021 Italian Open Masters Women’s Preview and Predictions

AP/ Marijan Murat, file

2021 Italian Open Masters Women’s Preview and Predictions

We’re a few weeks into the clay-court season and we’re starting to see who’s playing well and who’s not. For example, as expected, Naomi Osaka has not been making much of an impact on the clay. On the other hand, Ash Barty has established herself as the player to beat on the red clay. Although she did not win in Madrid, it has been Barty’s consistency on the clay which has allowed her to make two straight finals, both in Stuttgart and Madrid. The same can be said of Aryna Sabalenka, who has also made the same two finals. Between them, they have split those two finals, with Barty winning in Stuttgart and Sabalenka in Madrid. In Rome they won’t be meeting in the final due to Sabalenka being the 7th seed. The meeting will likely happen in the quarterfinals. Nevertheless, both Sabalenka and Barty are the two players to watch as we head to Rome and then Roland Garros.

Aside from Barty and Sabalenka, who’s got a chance in Rome?

Petra Kvitova: 12th Seed

Kvitova posted two solid quarterfinal runs in Stuttgart and Madrid. In both losses, she fought hard and lost tough three-setters against Svitolina in Stuttgart and Barty in Madrid. In both those matches, she could have come out on top. Unfortunately for Kvitova, her ranking is hurting her ability to get deep into a tournament of this caliber. Nevertheless, she’s playing well on clay and can go deep.

Elina Svitolina: 5th Seed

Clay is Svitolina’s best surface, and she’s playing well again. She lost a tough three-setter in Stuttgart to Barty. That’s not too shabby. Also, let’s not forget that she plays great in Rome. She’s a two-time defending champion. Svitolina is due for a big title. Can she win her third Italian Open title this week? I wouldn’t bet against her.

Simona Halep: 3rd Seed

Another player I would not bet against in the slow red clay of Rome is Halep. After all, she’s the defending champion. She fell to Sabalenka in the semis of Stuttgart and Mertens in the early rounds of Madrid. Will she come out swinging in Rome? I think she can go far in Rome.

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