Halep vs Svitolina

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Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep meet in the final of the 2018 tennis Rome Masters.

Elina Svitolina is coming off a straight sets win over Anett Kontaveit that took 19 games to decide. In the victory, Svitolina won 68 percent of her first serve points and 65 percent of her second serve points. Svitolina had little trouble in the semifinals, winning 67 percent of her total service points and converting on four of five break chances. Svitolina has now won 22 of her last 29 sets on clay court and continues to have a great deal of success with her return. Svitolina has lost a combined 20 games in her last six sets. Svitolina hopes to win her third title of the year and the 12th title of her career. Svitolina has won each of her last seven final appearances and is 3-0 in finals on clay court. Svitolina has a chance at her fourth career Premier 5 Tournament title and her second straight Rome Masters title. Svitolina has won 10 of her last 12 matches on clay court.

Read more at https://sportschatplace.com/tennis-picks/2018/05/20/elina-svitolina-vs-simona-halep-2018-rome-masters-tennis-pick-preview-odds-prediction#yjAfFAiqWeDyawwv.99Simona Halep is coming off a three sets win over Maria Sharapova that took 27 games to decide. In the victory, Halep won 52 percent of her first serve points and 36 percent of her second serve points. Halep is coming off her worst service performance of the season, but she still managed to win thanks to breaking 11 times. Halep won 63 percent of her return points and gave herself 17 break chances overall. Halep has to obviously play better this time around, but it’s nice to see she can win without playing her complete best. Halep hopes to win her second title of the year and her 17th of her career. Halep has lost five of her last six final appearances but is 1-0 in her career in final appearances on clay. Halep can win her fourth career Premier 5 Tournament title and first since the 2016 Canadian Open. Halep has won seven of her last eight matches on clay court.

These two have played four times and Svitolina has won three of those meetings. The most recent match was in the 2017 WTA Championships, a match Svitolina won in straight sets. Halep’s only win over Svitolina came in the 2017 French Open.

You can make a case for either one of these players given their form and their recent history on clay, but I’m siding with Halep. She’s been the more consistent player this season and has the advantage serving wise. In two meetings on clay, Halep has also been the better player.

Give me Halep to win the title, but it will be close.

The latest installment in the rivalry between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic met expectations for one tight set.

Then Nadal pulled away for a 7-6 (4), 6-3 win to reach the Italian Open final on Saturday.

In their 51st meeting but first in more than a year, Nadal’s court coverage eventually proved too much to handle for Djokovic, who is still regaining his form from a persistent right elbow injury.

“That was a tough battle, a good level of tennis, a combination of good tactics and great shots from both of us,” said Nadal, who has had injury trouble of his own over the past year.

Nadal’s opponent in Sunday’s final will be defending champion Alexander Zverev, who recovered from an early break in the second set to beat Marin Cilic 7-6 (13), 6-4.

Zverev destroyed his racket near the end of the tiebreak in which he saved five set points. The German player is aiming for his third title in three weeks after lifting trophies in Munich and Madrid — but he hasn’t beaten Nadal in four tries.

“On this surface (Nadal) is almost unbeatable,” Zverev said. “I’ll have to play my best.”

If Nadal wins his record-extending eighth Rome title, he will replace Roger Federer at No. 1.

Federer is sitting out the clay season to prepare for Wimbledon.

On the women’s side, top-ranked Simona Halep rallied past three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and will again face Elina Svitolina for the trophy.

Svitolina comfortably defeated Anna Kontaveit 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal.

In last year’s final, Svitolina came back to beat Halep after the Romanian rolled her ankle.

“I hope I don’t get injured again,” Halep said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

This is the last major warmup before the French Open starts next weekend.

The first set alone of Nadal-Djokovic made the Open era’s most prolific men’s rivalry worth watching. Djokovic recovered from an early break with excellent shot-making and Nadal converted his first set point with a return winner on the line after Djokovic followed his serve to the net.

During one particularly entertaining point midway through the first set, Nadal ran down a drop shot and forced Djokovic to retreat with a smartly angled response before Djokovic came forward again to finish the point off with a volley winner.

Fans stood up and applauded them on multiple occasions.

“It was a really good quality match,” Djokovic said. “I enjoyed it.”

After losing the first set tiebreak, Djokovic started shouting at his support box in an apparent discrepancy over tactics — then did it again on the next changeover.

Nadal got an early break in the second set and never looked back.

Djokovic noted that at 3-3 in the tiebreak he had to go play against the wind, “which is a huge difference” when playing Nadal.

“Those are the little details in tennis that only players and people who were on the court know,” Djokovic said.

Still, this was Djokovic’s best performance of the year.

“I played four matches here and I didn’t expect anything coming into this tournament,” Djokovic said. “I’m pleased with how I played the last three days — very pleased — and hopefully Roland Garros can be a continuation of this run.”

Sharapova appeared worn out toward the end of her nearly 2 1/2-hour match against Halep, having been on court more than seven hours longer than her opponent this week.

The fourth-ranked Svitolina produced only 18 winners to Kontaveit’s 24 but also committed fewer unforced errors — 13 to 20 — in a match that lasted 74 minutes.

Kontaveit, an Estonian, could still be pleased with a week that saw her eliminate four established players: 12th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe, two-time finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova, 1999 champion Venus Williams and second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki.Top-ranked Simona Halep rallied past three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 and will again face Elina Svitolina for the Italian Open trophy.

Sharapova appeared worn out toward the end of her nearly 2 1/2-hour match against Halep, having been on court more than seven hours longer than her opponent this week.The fourth-ranked Svitolina produced only 18 winners to Kontaveit’s 24 but also committed fewer unforced errors — 13 to 20 — in a match that lasted 74 minutes.

Defending champion Svitolina returned to the Italian Open final with a comfortable 6-4, 6-3 win over Anna Kontaveit.

Aiming for the third title defense in her career, Svitolina will face either top-ranked Simona Halep or three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova in Sunday’s championship match on the red clay of the Foro Italico.

“I’m happy with the way I handled today under pressure and all this week,” Svitolina said following her victory Saturday. “I know there is one match to go and I will give it my best shot tomorrow.”

The fourth-ranked Svitolina produced only 18 winners to Kontaveit’s 24 but also committed fewer unforced errors — 13 to 20 — in a match that lasted 74 minutes.

“I was really solid with my performance and I was really proud that I could stay consistent for the entire match,” Svitolina said.

Kontaveit, an Estonian, could still be pleased with a week that saw her eliminate four established players: 12th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe, two-time finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova, 1999 champion Venus Williams and second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki.

“She was really tough today and played great,” Kontaveit said. “So I’m just taking the positives from this week.”

Halep and Sharapova were meeting later on a warm day in the Italian capital. This is the last major warm-up before the French Open starts next weekend.

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