Fixture: Simona Halep vs Dayana Yastremska
Date: 18 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Round of 16
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,771,082
Match timing: Not before 1 pm CEST, 4.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Simona Halep vs Dayana Yastremska preview
Currently riding a 10-match winning streak, Simona Halep will hope to continue her fine form when she takes on Dayana Yastremska in the Round of 16 at the 2020 Italian Open.
The World No. 2 Halep was given a stern challenge in the second round by the spirited Jasmine Paolini, whom she ultimately knocked out in straight sets. Now she will face an even fiercer competitor in the hard-hitting Yastremska from Ukraine.
The 20-year-old overcame a couple of tough hurdles in the early rounds, beating Camila Giorgi and Amanda Anisimova with some gritty play. The Ukrainian required three sets and multiple medical time-outs in both matches before emerging victorious.
A set and a break down against Anisimova, Yastremska upped her game by several notches to overpower the American. She has displayed a very aggressive brand of tennis right from the start of the tournament, hitting winners left, right and center.
That, however, will not be as easy against Simona Halep, who has phenomenal defense. Not only that, but the Romanian also has a far more patient approach to the game than her opponent. This could allow her to tactically outsmart the youngster in a good percentage of the rallies.
Simona Halep surely has one eye on the French Open, and will be hoping to get in some solid preparation at the event in Rome. She looked very rusty at times against Paolini, especially on her serve, but will be pleased with the way she effectively handled the return games.
Interestingly, this will be the second time these two players face off inside three days, having also played each other in the doubles event. Simona Halep and Monica Niculescu got the better of the duo of Svitolina and Yastremska on Wednesday.
Simona Halep vs Dayana Yastremska head-to-head
Simona Halep has never faced Dayana Yastremska before and as such the head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Simona Halep vs Dayana Yastremska prediction
This match promises to be a litmus test for the French Open ambitions of Simona Halep. The Romanian is playing pretty well, but we are yet to see all elements of her game come together against a quality opponent.
Meanwhile, Dayana Yastremska will be looking to pick up where she left off against Anisimova. The Ukrainian can be expected to bludgeon winners from the very first game, and it will take some effort from Halep to deal with her firepower.
Halep will not be afforded much breathing space by the hard and flat groundstrokes of Yastremska, and as such would look to elongate the rallies. She will likely do this by employing a lot of loopy and topspin-heavy forehands as well as drop shots and lobs.
Closing out points at the net could also help Halep, but she may not get a lot of chances to do that given the depth that Yastremska generates on her shots. And needless to say, she will have to get a lot of big first serves in if she is to keep the fearsome Yastremska return at bay.
All things considered though, Halep's superior pedigree on clay and overall experience should help her clinch this match.
Prediction: Simona Halep to win in three sets.Published 17 Sep 2020, 20:36 IST