Rome 2nd Round Predictions: Serena-Robson, Kvitova-Lisicki and Gasquet-Dimitrov

Today was a real mixed bag of results; it was great to see Laura Robson defeat Venus Williams although the American is really struggling with a persistent back injury right now.  The shock result of the day was Simona Halep thumping Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-1 6-1.  I lost two womens quarter-finalists as Angelique Kerber also pulled out with an abdominal strain injury.  
In the mens, I lost out with Jarkko Nieminen as he drew the toughest of the qualifiers, Ernests Gulbis; it is frustrating picking predictions before qualifiers have been placed, but that’s how some tournaments do it. Best prediction of the day was probably calling Nastassja Burnett to beat Alize Cornet.  I was also glad to see Sam Stosur have a good straight sets win over Hsieh Su-Wei as I fancied her to do well here.  Tomorrow, there are some brilliant second round matches to watch out for…
1. Serena Williams v Laura Robson
Laura Robson
Thank you to the Rome organisers for putting the second round match between Serena Williams and Laura Robson last on Centrale court so I can watch it when I get home from work tomorrow! Robson took out a struggling Venus Williams today, 6-2 6-3.  I was listening to the match on the radio and it didn’t sound pretty viewing.  Still, another scalp for Robson and onwards and upwards as she has the rare feat of playing the Williams sisters back-to-back.  It is a quick turnover for Serena, who will no doubt be a bit sluggish to start with as the condtions will differ to Madrid.  Of course it’s a first match-up between the pair and a chance for Robson to really test herself against the very best.  I think it will be very close, but ultimately I don’t think Robson will have enough consistency on this surface to pull off the shock…
Prediction – S.Williams to beat Robson in 2 very tight sets
2. Petra Kvitova v Sabine Lisicki
A smashing second round match up between Sabine Lisicki and Petra Kvitova will be one of the matches to watch on the outside courts in Rome tomorrow as it has been scheduled second up on the fantastic Pietriangeli court.  To be fair, it’s a great match-up on paper, but it could easily be an error-strewn anticlimax.  Lisicki had a really strong win today against the qualifier, Mallory Burdette, 6-1 6-2.  Burdette beat Lisicki in Charleston earlier this year so it was a very impressive performance from Sabine, who seems to be picking up her form in time for RG and Wimbledon.  Kvitova has been hit and miss lately and she didn’t seem too bothered to lose to Daniela Hantuchova in the second round of Madrid.  I hope she is up for this one because its going to be a very tough match.  This one has got three sets written all over…
Prediction – Kvitova to beat Lisicki in 3 sets
3. Richard Gasquet v Grigor Dimitrov
Richard Gasquet
The best mens match will see the rising Bulgarian, Grigor Dimitrov test his mettle against another top ten player in Richard Gasquet.  Dimitrov beat Marcos Baghdatis in two sets in his opening match on Sunday.  Gasquet lost his first round in Madrid, but managed to get through his first test in Rome, beating allergic-to-the-clay, Sam Querrey, 6-2 7-6(8).  I remember their last match on clay at Roland Garros where both were collapsing after one epic point.  Dimitrov ran out of steam in that one, but will have more of a chance in a best of three sets.  I like Dimitrov’s game and normally back him for the upsets, but in this case, I have a feeling Gasquet will come out on top.

Prediction – Gasquet to beat Dimitrov in 3 sets
Best of the rest: WTA 2nd round predictions
Agnieszka Radwanska to beat Simona Halep in 2 tight sets

Best of the rest: ATP 2nd round predictions
Novak Djokovic to beat Albert Montanes in 2 sets
Roger Federer to beat Potito Starace in 2 sets
Tomas Berdych to beat Denis Istomin in 2 tight sets
Juan Martin del Potro to beat Andrey Kuznetsov in 2 tight sets
Marin Cilic to beat Kevin Anderson in 2 sets

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