Possible All-American Quarterfinal Looming
It is time for another of the high-profile clay court events as the world’s top players have converged on the Italian Open.
Could there be another matchup between Iga Swiatek and Arnya Sabalenka after they met in the Madrid final? Swiatek is the two-time defending champion and, even with a tough draw, is getting plenty of love from those making WTA predictions.
When looking at the WTA betting odds, former World No. 3 Elina Svitolina, veterans Sara Errani and Kaia Kanepi are among the underdogs in the early matches.
Swiatek and Sabalenka have already met in the finals at Stuttgart and Madrid as they continue to dominate the tennis news cycle.
When looking at the tennis predictions, Swiatek is even money to win in Rome while Sabalenka is third at +625. The world No. 1 (-140) is the overwhelming favorite in the French Open outrights followed by Sabalenka at +600.
First Quarter: Another Swiatek-Rybakina Clash on Horizon?
Barring any upsets, Swiatek would meet up with Lludmila Samsonova with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
In the lone meeting between the two this season, Swiatek cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 win in the Round of 16 at Dubai. When they played in the 2022 Stuttgart semifinals, it was a much more competitive matchup with Swiatek winning 7-5 in the third set.
American Bernarda Pena is one of the seeded players in Swiatek’s quarter.
Their only previous meeting came in the qualifying draw at th 2019 Birmingham event, with Swiatek winning in three sets.
Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open singles champion, is a dangerous floater in this bracket. Veteran Elise Mertens can’t be overlooked either, with No. 7 Elena Rybakina and No. 9 Maria Sakkari the front-runners to meet Swiatek in the quarterfinals.
Rybakina has upset Swiatek in their last two meetings, winning 6-2, 6-2 in last month’s Indian Wells semifinals and also advancing in straight sets at the Round of 16 at the Australian Open.
Sakkari, listed as the second favorite in Rome at +280, is 3-2 in her career against Swiatek. The last meeting came in the 2022 Indian Wells final with Swiatek winning 6-4, 6-1.
Rybakina and Sakkari haven’t met since Sakkari’s straight-set win in the quarterfinals last year in Indian Wells.
- Quarterfinal Prediction: Swiatek vs Rybakina
Second Quarter: Can an Italian Break Through?
No. 4 seed Ons Jabeur could draw Paula Badosa in the second round. Badosa won three of the previous four matches with Jabeur.
There are six Italians in this portion of the bracket. No. 18 Martina Trevisan is the only one of those six who are seeded. However, Camilla Giorgi can always be dangerous playing on clay.
Main draw singles @InteBNLdItalia, which features a 96-player field this year, played across 12 days.
Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Jessica Pegula, and Ons Jabeur are the Top 4 seeds.
Main draw begins on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/eobJ4Pw7GR
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) May 7, 2023
It has been nearly a decade since Giorgi and Jabeur have squared off.
Three wild cards, all from Italy, could be in the path of No. 8 seed Daria Kasatkina, with 10th-seeded Barbora Krejcikova, No. 20 Jelena Ostapenko and No. 26 Jill Teichmann worth keeping an eye on.
According to the sportsbook, Krejcikova is third in the French Open outrights so this could be a chance for her to display her strong clay court form.
- Quarterfinal Prediction: Jabeur vs Krejcikova
Third Quarter: Possible All-U.S. Quarterfinal Looming
Could there be a quarterfinal showdown between a pair of Americans?
Jessica Pegula is the No. 3 seed with Coco Gauff seeded sixth. No American has reached the women’s final at the Italian Open since Serena Williams topped Keys in 2016, so there is work to be done for both Pegula and Gauff. Those who bet on tennis in the U.S. might pay a little more attention if both Gauff and Pegula navigate through a challenging portion of the draw.
Gauff could meet up with Marie Bouzkova in the third round. In their lone meeting, Gauff retired down 7-5, 1-0 in the 2022 Cincinnati tournament. That could attract some action when the tennis live betting odds are posted.
Another dangerous player could be Anastasia Potapova, who eliminated Gauff in the Miami and Stuttgart events.
Gauff and No. 11 seed Veronika Kudermetova have also played twice in 2023, with Kudermetova winning in three sets in the Doha quarterfinals followed by Gauff advancing in a third-set tiebreaker in the Round of 32 at Stuttgart.
It could be interesting if Pegula and Karolina Pliskova advance to the quarterfinals since they haven’t met since 2021. Pliskova knows how to win in Rome as she won the title in 2019 before falling in the finals in both 2020 and 2021.
A matchup against Irina-Camelia Begu, the No. 31 seed, could take awhile considering they played three-set matches in the last two meetings. That includes Pegula winning 6-4 in the third set in the Round of 16 at this year’s Charleston tournament.
- Quarterfinal Prediction: Gauff vs Pegula
Fourth Quarter: Plenty of Challengers For Sabalenka
No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka wasn’t done many favors by the pullers of the draw with former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and former French Open semifinals and top-10 ranked player Madison Keys in her portion of the draw. Sabalenka is coming off a three-set win over Swiatek in the Madrid finals.
Sabalenka and Keys haven’t played since the Round of 16 at Berlin in 2021, when Keys won in three sets.
Carolina Garcia, a 2022 US Open semifinalist and two-time French Open doubles champion, is on the top line of this quartet of the bracket. Garcia has won the last three matchups with Sabalenka and that includes a 7-6, 6-4 win in the title match of the 2022 WTA Finals.
If No. 12 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia meets up with Garcia, it would be a showdown of two players with more than 400 singles wins on tour.
No. 17 seed Magda Linette upset Garcia at the Australian Open and they could match up in the fourth round.
- Quarterfinal Prediction: Garcia vs Sabalenka
Way Too Early Predictions for Semifinals, Final
- Top Half Semifinal Prediction: Swiatek vs Jabeur
- Bottom Half Semifinal Prediction: Gauff vs Sabalenka
- Final: Swiatek vs Sabalenka