Fixture: (15) Angelique Kerber vs Katerina Siniakova
Date: 15 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: First Round (Round of 64)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,771,082
Match timing: 11 am CEST, 2.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Angelique Kerber vs Katerina Siniakova preview
Transition from one surface to another is always a challenge for any player, and more so if you're just coming back after a break of seven months. Angelique Kerber will need to quickly adjust her game when she sets foot on the red clay in her first-round clash with World No. 61 Katerina Siniakova at the Italian Open on Tuesday.
The German did impress in her first tournament back at the US Open, winning three matches effortlessly without dropping a set. But in the fourth round she faced the imperious Jennifer Brady, whose attacking game the southpaw had no answer to.
While there were a lot of positives for the former World No. 1 to take from the US, clay is a different ball-game altogether. The red dirt is Kerber's worst-performing surface, as she struggles to generate pace on it - as reinforced by the fact that the French Open is the only Slam missing from her trophy cabinet.
The 32-year-old now faces a familiar foe Katerina Siniakova, who has tasted more success in doubles than singles. The two-time doubles Slam winner has been at the pinnacle of the world rankings in that category, but her singles career has never really taken off.
Siniakova reached a career-high world ranking of No. 31 in 2018, and has a shabby 7-9 record in singles this year. In fact, the Czech will be coming into this match on the back of a four-match losing streak.
Angelique Kerber vs Katerina Siniakova head-to-head
Angelique Kerber and Katerina Siniakova have crossed swords thrice in the past, with Kerber leading the head-to-head 3-0. The German's mastery over Siniakova is reflected in the fact that she has got the better of the Czech on all three surfaces.
They met for the first time on the slick grass of Birmingham in 2015, where Kerber emerged a 6-2, 6-4 winner. Their next showdown came a year later on the hardcourts of Beijing, and Kerber ran away to a 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Their third and most recent encounter, on the claycourts of Madrid in 2017, turned out to be the most competitive one. The World No. 22 edged Siniakova 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 in that match.
Angelique Kerber vs Katerina Siniakova prediction
Given her flawless record against Katerina Siniakova, Kerber couldn't have asked for a better opponent to make a confidence-boosting start on the slow clay of Rome.
Siniakova plays an aggressive brand of tennis, and can hurt her opponents with her pinpoint down-the-line shots off both wings. Her proficiency in doubles has helped her sharpen her net game as well, and her volleys can fetch her some easy points.
However, inconsistency is a serious problem for Siniakova; she often struggles to keep the unforced error count low. Besides, the 24-year-old's morale will also be low considering she has struggled for the better part of the year.
Angelique Kerber on her part will look to open up the court and use her deadly down-the-line forehand to finish rallies. That is something that helped her a great deal in coming back from 3-5 down in the final set of their Madrid meeting.
Prediction: Angelique Kerber to win in straight sets.Published 15 Sep 2020, 00:06 IST