Sloane Stephens vs Barbora Strycova Tennis Prediction
This will be the fifth meeting between Stephens and Strycova (2-2), but first on clay. Their last meeting ended prematurely in the American’s retirement (left knee) at 2017 Zhuhai. The other encounters have all concluded in straight sets, making it imperative for both to get a good start.
Sloane Stephens News
Sloane Stephens participated at Internazionali BNL d’Italia four years in a row starting with her debut in 2012, making this year her first appearance since 2015 (l. Lisicki). She has reached as far as the round of 16 stage of the tournament in 2013 (l. Sharapova).
The reigning US Open champion entered the clay season fresh off lifting a Premier Mandatory title at Miami (d. Muguruza, Kerber, and Ostapenko). Her first match on clay this season was a complete rout at the hands of Vandeweghe (6-1 6-0) at Stuttgart.
The American recovered from the loss by posting a couple of straight-set wins over Soler-Espinosa and Samantha Stosur at Madrid Open last week (l. Pliskova). These were her first wins on clay since 2016, the year she won Charleston, her only clay title.
Barbora Strycova News
Barbora Strycova has also made four appearances at Foro Italico, but her best result is a quarterfinal in 2016 (d. Knapp, Watson and Bouchard). Apart from the 2016 run, her only win at Rome came last year, defeated Kasatkina via retirement (l. Bacsinszky).
Strycova started the season with quarterfinals at Auckland and Sydney, along with a fourth round at the Australian Open. However, the Czech has not won a match since Doha (February) and is currently on a seven-match losing streak.
Tennis Prediction: Sloane Stephens 2-0 SET