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WTA Rome Tennis Picks, Predictions: Keys to Struggle Against Kalinina (May 9)

WTA Rome Tennis Picks, Predictions: Keys to Struggle Against Kalinina (May 9) article feature image
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Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Anhelina Kalinina reacts after a point against Emma Raducanu.

While it was fun watching Ons Jabeur win the biggest title of her career in Madrid, tennis quickly moves on, and the WTA 1000 event in Rome is upon us!

I’ve found betting value for two of Monday’s WTA matches.

Read on for two plays to think about from the action in Rome!

Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

Martina Trevisan (-110) vs.  Shuai Zhang (-110)

6:30 a.m. ET

Martina Trevisan will be looking to play well at her home tournament in Rome. In Madrid, Trevisan lost in the final round of qualifying to Kaia Kanepi 2-6, 5-7.

Against Kanepi, Trevisan only won 50% of her first-serve points, despite putting 67% of her first serves into play. Trevisan was also broken five times in 10 service games. On return, Trevisan only won 26% of Kanepi’s first-serve points.

Traditionally, Trevisan has been a good clay-courter, winning 68% of her career-matches on the dirt. And while many of those wins were in ITF events, Trevisan did make the quarterfinals of the French Open in 2020.

The Italian’s heavy forehand and ability to dictate from that wing has been huge for her clay-court success. However, this season Trevisan has only gone 3-3 in clay-court events.

Shuai Zhang might be on a three-match losing streak, but she’s faced tough competition in her most recent losses. In Madrid, Zhang fell 2-6, 3-6 to Simona Halep.

Facing a great clay-courter in Halep, Zhang struggled in all facets of her game. She was broken five times and won only 48% of her service points overall.

On return, Zhang only won 22% of Halep’s first-serve points and broke serve once all match. She couldn’t handle Halep’s baseline game, especially the Romanian’s backhand.

Zhang also had a tough opener in her previous tournament in Stuttgart, losing a tight straight-set affair to Ekaterina Alexandrova. She isn’t at her best on clay, winning just under half of clay-court matches in her career. With that said, Zhang (typically) has a powerful serve and groundstrokes that allow her to rush her opponents.

Trevisan’s lefty clay game is solid, but she doesn’t defend particularly well and has a long windup on the forehand, so Zhang can rush her from that wing. Zhang’s powerful game can control the baseline and force Trevisan into defensive positions on the court instead of dictating from that wing.

Trevisan’s variety also isn’t particularly good and she won’t be able to drag Zhang around the court effectively. Zhang will be the one in charge of rallies.

Pick: Zhang ML (-110 via FanDuel)

Anhelina Kalinina (-112) vs. Madison Keys (-108)

9:30 a.m. ET

Anhelina Kalinina continued her great season in Madrid. Kalinina made the quarterfinals before losing 3-6, 4-6 to Jil Teichmann.

Against Teichmann, Kalinina really struggled on her serve, only winning 48% of her service points overall. However, on return Kalinina still did a great job against Teichmann’s second serve, winning 52% of her second-serve return points. In fact, no opponent all week won at least 50% of their second serves against Kalinina.

Kalinina is 6-3 on the clay this season and has won over 70% of her career matches on clay. The Ukrainian defends very well and plays with consistent depth. Kalinina has excellent variety, as well, hitting the drop shot very solidly. She understands the right time to employ the drop shot, as her tennis IQ is very high.

Madison Keys had a tough first-round opponent in Madrid and did not pull off the upset. Keys lost 7-6(8), 3-6, 4-6 in her Madrid opener.

Keys’ first serve was firing in the Madrid altitude against Maria Sakkari, winning 77% of her first-serve points. However, Keys’ second serve let her down, as she only won 48% of her second-serve points. In fact, in four of Keys’ last five matches, she won under 55% of the points on her second serve.

A power player who can dominate the baseline, Keys is tough to beat when she’s playing well. However, Keys has gone 4-6 since the Australian Open and hasn’t looked near the player she did in Australia. Keys’ rally tolerance has decreased and she’s become more erratic from the baseline.

Keys and Kalinina played recently in Miami, in more favorable conditions for the American compared to the slow Rome clay. Kalinina came back to win that match in three sets.

Kalinina is a great counterpuncher and covers the court very well, making it hard for Keys to hit through her. This will frustrate Keys and lead to many unforced errors.

Further, Kalinina’s variety will allow her to change the pace of rallies. She will drag Keys to the net on her terms with drop shots, keeping the ball out of Keys’ strike zone.

Pick: Kalinina ML (-112 via FanDuel)

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