Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 WTA Tour: Internazionali Femminili Di Palermo

2020 WTA Tour: Internazionali Femminili Di Palermo

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The round of 16 takes center stage at country Time Club (Outdoor Clay)- Palermo, Italy. Damien Kayat previews the respective matchups between Sara Errani vs Kristyna Pliskova as well as 
Anna Kontaveit vs L Siegemund.
Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2020 WTA Tour  | WTA International | Internazionali Femminili Di Palermo
Country Time Club (Outdoor Clay)- Palermo, Italy
Selected Round of 16 Matches 

Sara Errani (18/10)
vs Kristyna Pliskova (4/10)- 5th August

The lockdown could have proved a blessing in disguise for some of the more experienced campaigners. When else are players going to have five months to reenergize? Sara Errani could be one such player. The former top-five player is a seasoned campaigner on clay. She reached the final at Roland Garros in 2012: she managed to reach at least the quarterfinal stage of all Grand Slams in 2012.  She is a former two-time champion in this event (not to mention a former two-time runner-up).  But a 2017 doping scandal rocked Errani’s ailing career.  She went into lockdown in horrendous form: you have to go back to November last year for the last semblance of form (she lost an ITF Final in Portugal). But the break from tennis may have reinvigorated the Italian. And she will no doubt be looking to impress in one of her most celebrated events.  Her three-set victory over Cirstea may have helped regather some lost confidence. 

It’s really unfortunate that Kristyna Pliskova will always be perceived in relation to her more successful sister: Karolina. But a straight-sets victory over clay-court dynamo Maria Sakkari has underscored her own ability.  Pliskova has one WTA title to her name: she won the Tashkent Open in 2016. Much like her sister, Kristyna Pliskova is nominally a hard court specialist. She still holds the record for most aces in a WTA match (31). That tells you what you need to know about Pliskova.  She really relies on her power to dominate opponents. Though she entered the lockdown in fairly abject form, there have been flashes of grit in her singles game of late. She reached the semi-finals of the Tashkent Open in September. But what was ever more impressive was a semi-final run at Shenzhen earlier this year. 

This will amazingly be their first-ever match. Errani is currently the tour leader in accumulated clay-court victories.  If she can get some rhythm on that infamously weak serve (she occasionally has to resort to serving underhand). I think that Pliskova should be able to overpower Errani, especially if she can replicate the form that she showed against Sakkari. It may be worth it to go for the Czech in straight sets at 19/20.  
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Anna Kontaveit (8/15) 
vs L Siegemund (6/4) - 6th August
24-year-old Estonian tennis queen Anna Kontaveit has enjoyed a fairly meteoric rise over the past two years. In some ways, she is the type of player who could have done without the break. She had just reached her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at this year’s Australian Open. She reached her first Premier Mandatory semi-final at last year’s Miami Open. It remains to be seen whether her progress will be seriously impeded by this sudden halt in action. Kontaveit has shown some form on clay, reaching the 4th round of the 2018 French Open.  Her mobility and ability to put opponents in awkward positions should make her an ideal fit for clay. Kontaveit thrashed her first-round opponent in straight sets and will be looking to make light work of Laura Siegemund.

A journeywoman pro like Laura Siegemund will welcome this return to competitive action. The two-time WTA champion also returns to a surface that she favours. Her career win-loss ratio on clay is 61%.  That is 11% above her career win-loss percentage. And if you look closely at Siegmund’s recent singles performances, you can see some encouraging signs. She has reached three quarterfinals since last October. This year she has already beaten the likes of Coco Gauff and Coco Vandeweghe. 

This will be the 1st meeting between these two. Kontaveit will obviously go in as the clear favourite. I just don’t’ think there’s enough value in backing Siegemund, at any price.  Kontaveit is a true talent who could very well go on to win a Grand Slam. Kontaveit to win in straight sets.

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets

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