The clay in Rome is usually pretty slow so big servers are going to have to work harder for their wins than usual. Also the weather may not be too kind this week which will only slow conditions even more.
Laura Robson has drawn Venus Williams as her first round opponent.
Williams hasn’t played since the Fed Cup last month where she beat Larsson. Earlier that month she reached the semi final of the clay court event in Charleston where she lost to sister Serena.
Mentally Robson seems to be all over the place. She did show some better form last week and should have beaten Ivanovic but her serve just keeps letting her down. She did beat Radwanska in her second match last week but it has to be said that ARad was so far below par we could call her Rory.
I think the slightly slower clay will call for patience and I have to favour Williams and her superior experience to get the job done. If Robson’s second serve slows down as much as it has done recently then the American will be teeing off on it. Sorry I don’t know where the golf comments are coming from!
The market has them fairly even at the start with Williams at 1.79. If I can get on her above evens I’ll be happy.
Update: From the start Williams was clearly troubled by her back. This seemed to be affecting her serve and in the rallies she was spraying more shots long than she was making winners. Robson played well though and took full advantage.
Robson won 6-3, 6-2.
Fognini and Seppi played last month in Monte Carlo. That was right at the beginning of Fognini’s excellent run there. He made a fast start to the first set but then crumbled before coming back to win in 3 sets. He has won their last 3 matches which were all on clay. All 3 went to the final set.
Seppi reached the semi finals in Portugal where he lost to Ferrer and was unfortunate to get Haas in the first round in Madrid.
We have every reason to expect 3 sets and on current form Fognini is favourite despite his late collapse against Youzhny where he had 3 match points on his own serve in the third set but ended up losing the set in a tie break.
I will look to back Fognini when a break down.
Update: Fognini broke in the very first game and completed the job in straight sets.