Osaka vs. Azarenka
|Date & Time||Monday May 14, 2018, 11:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Victoria Azarenka and Naomi Osaka meet in the first round of the 2018 tennis Rome Masters.
Victoria Azarenka has found some consistency as of late, as she made the semifinals of the Miami Masters and lost a tough three setter to Karolina Pliskova in the Madrid Masters. Azarenka is playing her best tennis by far currently since leaving due to her pregnancy, and she’s back to returning with similar aggressiveness. You’d still like Azarenka to serve a little more consistently and she can clean up the double faults, but for somebody still trying to get her conditioning down and rust off, she looks good. This will be just Azarenka’s third appearance in the Rome Masters since 2014. Azarenka has split her last eight matches on clay court.
Naomi Osaka has cooled off a bit since winning the Indian Wells Masters, and she’s coming off a frustrating loss to Shuai Zhang in Madrid. We sometimes see some inconsistent play from players who are coming off a big title for the first time, as it takes adjusting to fulfill new expectations or simply regain focus. However, Osaka has never been a proven player on clay, as she thrives on hard court where she can use her power to her advantage and spray winners left and right. This isn’t the surface for Osaka’s game, and it’s why she’s played very little on clay over the years. Still, Osaka can never be counted out, as the 20-year-old is ridiculously talented and just needs a quick start to kind of snap her out of her funk. Osaka has lost six of her last eight matches on clay court.
These two have played once, which was in the 2016 Australian Open, a match Azarenka won in straight sets. The match took 14 games to be decided.
My love for Osaka is well documented, as she has multiple grand slam winner written all over her. The problem is clay isn’t something she’s played well on over the years and has struggled big time with her serve recently. Azarenka is quickly gaining confidence after making a deep run in Miami and her competitiveness can still will her to victory.
I’m giving the edge to Azarenka here.