We are down to the semifinals of WTA Rome and the stakes are rising!
I’ve found value on both of Friday’s semifinal matchups — Kudermetova vs Kalinina and Rybakina vs Ostapenko.
Read on for my WTA Rome picks and expert betting predictions.
Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches and seeing tennis odds.
WTA Rome Odds, Picks
Veronika Kudermetova (-175) vs Anhelina Kalinina (+140)
9:45 a.m. ET
Veronika Kudermetova came back to beat Qinwen Zheng 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Despite winning just 49% of her second serves, Kudermetova hit 11 aces and won 72% of her first serves, getting broken on three occasions. Kudermetova also won 59% of her second-serve returns and broke four times.
Kudermetova, who recently made the Madrid semifinals, has a solid 87-59 record on clay for her career. The Russian has a well-placed first serve, but is most dangerous with her heavy, powerful forehand. Kudermetova tries to be aggressive with her backhand, but with less success. Her rally tolerance comes and goes, with wide variations in her level.
Anhelina Kalinina survived a physical showdown against Beatriz Haddad Maia, defeating the Brazilian 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-3. Kalinina won just 54% of her service points and was broken six times. But, the Ukrainian won 48% of her return points and broke on eight occasions.
Kalinina has an impressive 169-67 professional-record on clay. When Kalinina is playing well, such as during Rome, she gets consistent depth from the baseline and can hit into pinpoint targets, particularly with her forehand.
In addition, Kalinina hit her backhand very well against Haddad Maia, spreading the court and keeping the Brazilian on the move. In addition, the Ukrainian is fast and extremely fit.
Kudermetova will likely be the aggressor here, but this isn’t a great matchup for her on the slow Roman clay. Kudermetova’s forehand is a strong shot, but between the slow court speed and Kalinina’s foot speed, it should be very difficult for the Russian to consistently hit through Kalinina from the baseline.
Kalinina should be able to often reset Kudermetova’s offensive shots and, utilizing her placement, get the ball onto the weakest shot on the court – Kudermetova’s backhand. And with the way the Ukrainian is hitting her own backhand, Kudermetova should struggle picking on this wing.
I also trust Kalinina’s fitness more than Kudermetova’s in what could become a physical matchup.
Pick: Kalinina +2.5 games (-105 via BetMGM)
Elena Rybakina (-172) vs Jelena Ostapenko (+140)
1 p.m. ET
Elena Rybakina was fortunate that Iga Swiatek retired from their quarterfinal matchup, with the score tied at 2-6, 7-6(3), 2-2. Despite winning just 40% of her second serves, Rybakina hit 10 aces and won 74% of her first serves. The Kazakh struggled on return, however, winning just 33% of her return points and breaking just once.
Rybakina has a strong 72-35 record on clay as a professional. The Kazakh is at her best on quick surfaces, but has the power to hit through any surface when she’s on her game. Rybakina relies on her serve and aggressive groundstrokes, especially her forehand. But, her rally tolerance is not great, and this can be exposed on clay. When Rybakina’s initial blows from the baseline are met with resistance, she can sometimes press, overhitting on her groundstrokes.
Jelena Ostapenko defeated Paula Badosa 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to advance into the semifinals of Rome. Ostapenko won 60% of her service points and was broken four times. But, the Latvian did win 49% of her return points and breaking on seven occasions.
Ostapenko, a former Roland Garros champion, is an impressive 103-46 on clay for her career. The Latvian, when she’s playing well, can take the racquet out of her opponents’ hands with her extreme power. Ostapenko is fearless from the baseline, instantly trying to turn neutral-ball rallies into her favor with aggressive play. But, Ostapenko’s serve can sit up in the box and she’s hit-or-miss from the baseline, sometimes going for winners on the wrong ball.
This is a matchup between two players that like to hit the cover off the ball. Rybakina has the bigger serve, but Ostapenko’s baseline game has been the more reliable of the two this tournament.
Ostapenko is able to defend on clay a little bit better than Rybakina and she’s looked more comfortable during longer baseline exchanges than Rybakina has.
Rybakina has gotten fortunate with Swiatek and Anna Kalinskaya retiring in close battles against the Kazakh. But, Rybakina has not been at her best in Rome, looking lethargic and erratic too often for me to trust her in this spot.
She won’t be able to get away with an inconsistent level in this one.
Pick: Ostapenko +2.5 games (-106 via FanDuel)
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