Sloane Stephens and Nadia Podoroska meet in the first round of the 2023 tennis Italian Open. Let’s preview this game and give out a pick and prediction.
Sloane Stephens has been trying to find her footing this season, and maybe a challenger title in Saint Malo is a start. Stephens racked up 5 quick wins in France, which includes a straight set victory over Elina Svitolina. It was Stephen's first challenger title, and now she looks to rebound on the main tour, where she’s lost 5 of her last 6 matches. There’s not a ton of success at the Italian Open for Stephens, as she’s 6-9 here for her career and hasn’t won a match since 2018. Stephens has won 5 straight matches on clay court.
Nadia Podoroska is coming off a challenger tournament in Reus and has lost 3 of her last 4 matches overall. Podoroska hasn’t won a match on the main tour since beating Leolia Jeanjean in the Australian Open. In her losing effort in Madrid, Podoroska had issues with her serve, winning just 55 percent of her total points and racking up 4 double faults. Podoroska will make her second trip to the Italian Open and first since 2021 when she made the third round, which included an upset win over Serena Williams. Podoroska has split her last 10 matches on clay court.
There’s no match history between these 2 players.
Neither of these players have been able to find much success this year, but it’s fair to say Stephens is the better player when both are at the top of their game. Maybe the challenger title is what Stephens needed to get going. A shot in the arm if you will. Remember, Podoroska hasn’t won a match on the main tour since January.
Give me the American in this first round matchup.