WTA Rome Tennis Picks, Predictions: Anisimova to Beat Sabalenka Once Again? (May 13)
Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images. Pictured: Amanda Anisimova
We have reached the quarterfinals of the WTA tournament in Rome, and I’ve found betting value on two of Friday’s matches.
Read below for two plays from Friday’s WTA quarterfinal action.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Amanda Anisimova (-108) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (-114)
5 a.m. ET
Amanda Anisimova has continued her great season in Rome. Anisimova destroyed Danielle Collins, 6-2, 6-2, in the Round of 16.
Anisimova defused the Collins serve, winning 54% of her return points and breaking in five of eight return games. And on her own serve, Anisimova was only broken once all match, winning 81% of her first-serve points.
Anisimova did a great job of maintaining control of the baseline and not letting Collins dictate play with her excellent backhand.
Anisimova has had a great season, as she’s 20-7 on the year, including a 10-2 record on clay. The former French Open semifinalist has held every opponent this clay-court season to under 50% of their second serves won, and is hitting clean groundstrokes with controlled aggression from both wings.
She’s also counterpunched effectively when necessary.
Aryna Sabalenka is hitting her stride in Rome. In the Round of 16, Sabalenka took out Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-4.
Sabalenka demolished the Pegula serve, winning 60% of her return points, including 68% of Pegula’s second-serve points. This allowed Sabalenka to break in six of nine return games.
And, on her own serve, Sabalenka won 72% of her first-serve points and was only broken twice.
Sabalenka is doing a better job so far this week in controlling her power. Her first match in Rome against Shuai Zhang featured similar gaudy statistics, as she won 73% of her service points and 59% of her return points.
When Sabalenka is able to play this aggressively — without losing too much consistency — she can massively shrink the court for her opponents.
These two have already played twice on clay this season, with Anisimova beating Sabalenka in both Charleston and Madrid. The head-to-head is now at 4-0 in favor of Anisimova.
Losing twice in such a short time period can bring mental baggage for Sabalenka and shows that Anisimova understands how to handle the Belarusian’s game.
The faster conditions in Charleston and Madrid were also more favorable to Sabalenka compared to Rome. And, while Sabalenka has improved this week, so has Anisimova. The American has already beaten high-quality opponents in Belinda Bencic and Collins.
Anisimova typically doesn’t get pushed back into the court by more aggressive players, and she blunts her opponent’s ability to attack. This will serve her well against a very aggressive Sabalenka — as it has in the past.
Pick: Anisimova ML (-108 via FanDuel)
Ons Jabeur (-182) vs. Maria Sakkari (+147)
10 a.m. ET
After winning Madrid last week, Ons Jabeur has continued her good form into Rome. Jabeur defeated Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Against Putintseva, Jabeur won 74% of her second-serve points and 73% of her service points overall, facing one break point all match (saved). On return, the Tunisian won 71% of her second-serve return points and broke Putintseva’s serve four times.
Jabeur is currently on a nine-match winning streak. She has won over two-thirds of her first-serve points in every match this week, and she’s hitting her spots with her serve.
In addition, she’s punishing attackable shots — especially with her forehand — and leaving opponents guessing with her variety.
Maria Sakkari has played well this week in Rome. After taking out Ekaterina Alexandrova in her first match, Sakkari defeated Coco Gauff 6-4, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals.
When facing Gauff, Sakkari won 67% of her first-serve points and was only broken twice. And, on return, Sakkari won 46% of her points, including 54% on Gauff’s second serve.
In both of Sakkari’s matches in Rome, she’s won at least two-thirds of the points on her first serve and held her opponents to under 55% of their service points won.
Sakkari has a heavy forehand that she uses to dictate from the baseline. This shot is especially effective on clay, the surface where she has the highest career-winning percentage. However, Sakkari can be rushed on her backhand, and there are times when this wing fails her.
Jabeur has all elements of her game working. She’s hitting her drop shot extraordinarily well and does a great job of keeping (recent) opponents off-balance. This will be important to drag Sakkari off the baseline, where she is most comfortable.
Jabeur’s controlled aggression during this clay season has been fantastic, and her forehand has turned into a massive weapon. She can go toe-to-toe with Sakkari’s forehand and her backhand is more sturdy and versatile compared to Sakkari’s backhand.
Pick: Jabeur -2.5 games (-129 via PointsBet)
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