WTA Rome Final Tennis Picks, Predictions: Swiatek Too Good for Fatigued Jabeur (May 15)
Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Iga Swiatek.
- Iga Swiatek will meet Ons Jabeur in the Italian Open final.
- David Gertler offers his top play for the matchup, including his analysis of the match.
- Read on how he's betting the battle of the winning streaks.
Ons Jabeur vs. Iga Swiatek Odds
|Time||7:05 a.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
Ons Jabeur somehow got herself into the Rome final. Jabeur saved a match point with a shot on the outside of the sideline in her 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 victory over Daria Kasatkina.
Jabeur returned very well, winning 47% of her return points, including 46% on Kasatkina’s first serve. Jabeur was very aggressive with her return, trying to immediately put Kasatkina on the defensive. And it largely worked — Jabeur broke Kasatkina’s serve six times.
Jabeur needed to be that good on return because she only won 54% of her service points and was broken six times in the match. Jabeur used her variety well and had the best shot on the court in her forehand, but she was more erratic than usual from the baseline.
Jabeur looked fatigued in the match against Kasatkina, which is understandable given how much tennis she’s played recently. The Tunisian won the WTA 1000 event in Madrid last week after taking out Jessica Pegula in the final. Dating back to the start of Madrid, Jabeur has won 11 straight matches.
So, while Jabeur will certainly have confidence from all of this winning, it means that since the start of Madrid, she’s played 11 matches. That comes with a physical cost to her body. She will need to serve better than she did Saturday and really be aggressive with her forehand in order to be competitive in this final.
Iga Swiatek has continued to play incredible tennis this week in Rome. In the semifinals, Swiatek dominated Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1.
Against Sabalenka, Swiatek won 66% of her service points and was only broken once all match. However, it was Swiatek’s return game that was most impressive. The Pole broke Sabalenka’s big serve six times in eight service games, winning 62% of her return points. This included winning an unbelievable 71% of her first-serve return points.
Swiatek has held every opponent this week to 45% or less of their service points won and 50% or less of their first-serve points won. She’s broken serve a combined 26 times in her four matches in Rome and it’s not like Swiatek has played poor competition. In addition to beating Sabalenka, Swiatek has also defeated Victoria Azarenka and Bianca Andreescu.
Swiatek’s game is firing on all cylinders. She’s hitting her spots on serve, but more importantly, her baseline game has been incredibly good. Swiatek’s forehand is, arguably, the biggest weapon on the WTA Tour. She controls the baseline incredibly well from that wing and hits with excellent controlled aggression.
Swiatek gets remarkably consistent depth from both her forehand and her backhand. Yet, when Swiatek notices a player getting too comfortable from the baseline, she uses her variety to change the pace of play. This combination of power, variety, depth and consistency is why Swiatek is instantly in good position to win the point once she gets the return in play.
Swiatek will be looking to win her fifth tournament (that she’s played) in a row. The Pole has won 27 matches in a row and 40 of her past 41 sets. Swiatek, who won the 2020 Roland Garros and 2021 Rome singles crowns, has won 16 of 17 sets this clay-court season. Swiatek moves very well on the clay, which helps her counterpunching skills. That’s a big reason why she’s won over 85% of the clay matches in her career.
This is a matchup between the two players in the best form on the WTA Tour. We have an 11-match winning streak (Jabeur) versus a 27-match winning streak (Swiatek).
However, in terms of physical fatigue, it is important to note that Swiatek skipped Madrid last week and comes into this match as the fresher player. And, given that Jabeur looked tired and lost some of the consistency she had in prior matches during her win streak, this is a big deal.
Swiatek has the defensive ability to track down a lot of balls, just as Kasatkina did today. But, unlike Kasatkina, Swiatek plays with more controlled aggression and will be able to dictate play from the baseline, which will further test Jabeur’s fitness.
It’s hard to see Jabeur consistently being able to track down Swiatek’s powerful groundstrokes, especially from the Pole’s forehand. Jabeur won’t be in position to hit effective drop shots and Swiatek has good enough movement and anticipation to neutralize this shot anyways.
Swiatek will easily beat Jabeur and win the 2022 WTA Rome title.
Pick: Under 19.5 games (-115 via PointsBet)
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