Fixture: Elise Mertens vs Magda Linette
Date: 16 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Second Round (Round of 32)
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
Elise Mertens vs Magda Linette preview
Elise Mertens faces off against Magda Linette in the second round of the WTA Italian Open in Rome on Wednesday.
Mertens comes into the match having already reached a final on clay, in Prague, which was held before the American hardcourt season. The Belgian defeated the likes of Eugenie Bouchard and Krystina Pliskova there, before losing to Simona Halep at the final hurdle.
Mertens carried her good form to New York, where she reached the semifinal of the Western & Southern Open and the quarterfinal of the US Open. The World No. 23 beat home favorites Sofia Kenin and Jessica Pegula as well as the likes of Kristina Mladenovic during her run.
This week in Rome, Mertens got the better of Su-Wei Hsieh in the first round; the Belgian won by a fairly straightforward scoreline of 6-3, 6-1.
Elise Mertens' opponent in the second round is World No. 35 Magda Linette, who has not been in top form since the lockdowns have eased amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pole went straight to the American hardcourts, where she bowed out early in Lexington and the Western & Southern Open. After a good-looking start to the US Open, Linette lost to Anett Kontaveit in the third round.
Linette has, however, picked up a first round win against Jelena Ostapenko in Rome, which should give her some confidence coming into this match.
Elise Mertens vs Magda Linette head-to-head
The meeting in Rome is the third between the two players, and Elise Mertens leads the head-to-head 2-0 over Magda Linette.
Mertens prevailed in straight sets in both previous meetings with Linette - at the Tokyo International in 2017 (6-1 7-5) and at Edgbaston in 2014 (6-3 6-4).
Elise Mertens vs Magda Linette prediction
Given their respective performances since the lockdown, Elise Mertens comes into the matches as the overwhelming favorite. However, the Belgian has been active on the doubles circuit as well, and fatigue could play a role at some point.
Still, Mertens has impressed everyone over the last few weeks with her strong play. She has been taking the ball early and using her all-court game and movement to make her opponents struggle for every point.
Magda Linette's defensive game, which relies on long exchanges from the baseline, is unlikely to trouble Mertens if the latter is fully fit. To cause an upset, the Pole will have to attack Mertens' serve and look to take the initiative in the rallies.
Prediction: Elise Mertens to win in straight sets.Published 16 Sep 2020, 00:50 IST