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Rome 2020: Women's singles draw analysis, preview & prediction | Italian Open

Karolina Pliskova is the defending champion at the Italian Open
Karolina Pliskova is the defending champion at the Italian Open
Modified 13 Sep 2020, 14:31 IST

After the conclusion of the truncated US Open series, the WTA Tour will move to the claycourts of Europe. Several big names headline the draw at the 77th edition of the Italian Open, the only Premier tournament to be played in the run-up to Roland Garros.

Defending champion Karolina Pliskova leads the field, which also features fellow top 10 stars Simona Halep, Sofia Kenin, Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens and Belinda Bencic.

With main draw action set to begin on Monday, here's a look at the prospects of the top players in the tournament.

First quarter: Simona Halep and Petra Martic on a collision course

Simona Halep is the top seed in the draw.
Simona Halep is the top seed in the draw.

Expected quarterfinal: Simona Halep vs Petra Martic

Analysis: Simona Halep, the top seed in the draw, faces back-to-back tests in the form of Anastasija Sevastova and Amanda Anisimova are present in the same section. Camila Giorgi and Dayana Yastremska, both of whom had good results in Palermo last month, further complicate Halep's path.

Petra Martic would be looking avenge her US Open loss as she faces a prospective second round match against Yulia Putintseva. The Croat, who plays her best tennis on the surface, could also face Elena Rybakina or Marie Bouzkova later.

Predicted quarterfinal: Simona Halep vs Petra Martic

Second quarter: 6 Grand Slam winners crowd the quarter of death

Angelique Kerber (L) and Venus Williams
Angelique Kerber (L) and Venus Williams

Expected quarterfinal: Sofia Kenin vs Johanna Konta

Analysis: Third seed Sofia Kenin faces one of the toughest draws of all. The Australian Open champion's path is fraught with top contenders - the winner of a Venus Williams vs Victoria Azarenka match in the second round and former No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the third.

This season's big winners Garbine Muguruza and Ons Jabeur take on Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff respectively in other blockbuster first round matches. The winner of this section is likely to battle Johanna Konta for that all-important quarterfinal spot.

Predicted quarterfinal: Victoria Azarenka or Angelique Kerber vs Garbine Muguruza

Third quarter: Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina make a return to tennis action

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina returns to action in Rome.
Fourth seed Elina Svitolina returns to action in Rome.

Expected quarterfinal: Kiki Bertens vs Elina Svitolina

Analysis: Kiki Bertens is all set to play her first match since February. The fifth seed could face claycourt specialist Polona Hercog first up, but should have enough in the tank to come through that match and set up a prospective third rounder against a struggling Marketa Vondrousova.

Elina Svitolina, who also makes her return to tennis after the long break, might face some resistance from Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova early. If the fourth seed were to come through that, she is likely to battle it out against Anett Kontaveit for the last eight berth.

Predicted quarterfinal: Kiki Bertens vs Anett Kontaveit

Fourth quarter: Karolina Pliskova handed a relatively easy draw

Hsieh Su-Wei is one of the many big match players in the last quarter.
Hsieh Su-Wei is one of the many big match players in the last quarter.

Expected quarterfinal: Belinda Bencic vs Karolina Pliskova

Analysis: Belinda Bencic and Elise Mertens, the two seeds in the top section of the quarter, will need to look out for a couple of big-match players in their respective paths. Bencic might face Julia Georges in her opener, while Mertens could face the prospect of back-to-back matches against Hsieh Su-Wei and Jelena Ostapenko.

Karolina Pliskova will have a few matches to play herself into form, as she is set to face the winner of the Barbora Strycova-Veronika Kudermetova match first up. Alison Riske, the other out-of-form seed in the section, might find it hard to get past Jil Tiechmann early on.

Predicted quarterfinal: Julia Georges or Elise Mertens vs Jil Tiechmann

Published 13 Sep 2020, 02:40 IST
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