Venus Williams vs Victoria Azarenka: Rome Masters Preview and Prediction
It is a captivating clash between two former World number 1's as Venus Williams meets Victoria Azarenka in the first round of the Rome Masters.
Venus is coming into this tournament after a shocking defeat in the first round of the US Open to Karolina Muchova in straight sets. It was the first time that she had crashed out of the slam in the first round itself.
On the other hand, Azarenka has found back her form after a triumph in the Cincinnati Open and a runner-up finish in the US Open.
Head to Head record
Venus leads the head to head record against Azarenka with six wins and just two losses.
While there is little to separate the players in terms of experience, Venus would be looking for a fresh start to begin the clay-court swing. She won the Rome Masters in 1999.
Strengths of Venus
Known as the epitome of longevity in the sport, Venus is blessed with power-packed groundstrokes. Primarily a baseliner, she also has a good volley. While her backhand is accurate, her defense can be inconsistent sometimes and Azarenka would look to exploit that.
Strengths of Azarenka
Azarenka has excellent footwork and possesses smart court positioning. Despite not having a big serve, her formidable forehand can put pressure on opponents with a mix of depth and spin. Her backhand is also strong as she can hit it cross-court as well as down-the-line effectively.
With the tournament featuring a competitive field since the French Open is set to begin in another two weeks, both Azarenka and Venus would look to get accustomed to the red dirt. While the Belarussian holds the edge due to her superior form, Venus can never be discounted. Azarenka would be gunning for revenge after suffering a humiliating 6-3 6-2 loss in the Lexington Open to Venus about a month ago.
Her best finish in the Rome Masters was in 2013 when she lost to Serena Williams in the final. The fans can expect an intense baseline battle from the two legends as they cross swords one more time.
Prediction - Victoria Azarenka to win in three sets
Featured image credits: tennis.com