ROME — It’s another busy Monday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, where all eight Round of 16 matches will be played to set up the business end of the sixth WTA 1000 tournament of the season.

Rome 2024: Scores | Schedule | Draws

Here’s a breakdown of Monday’s matches:

Top Half

[1] Iga Swiatek vs. Iga Swiatek Angelique Kerber

Head-to-head: Swiatek leads 2-0

Can Swiatek become the third woman to sweep Madrid and Rome in a single season? She’s looked sharp so far. The World No.1 has continued her momentum from her rousing Madrid win to extend her winning streak to eight. She has not lost a set in her two matches, beating Bernarda Pera and Yulia Putintseva.

Next up: former No.1 Kerber, who has won three matches in Rome for the first time in over a decade. After illness derailed the start of her clay season and forced her out of Madrid, Kerber hasn’t lost a set with wins over Lauren Davis, 17th seed Veronika Kudermetova, and Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

“I’m happy with how I move and how I slide because this is always tricky, especially for me,” Kerber told WTA Insider. “I’m happy that I won in the last three matches the tough moments, the close moments.”

One of the keys for Kerber’s clay-court traction has been a change in her routine.  Since returning to the tour in January after an 18-month maternity leave, Kerber says she’s spending less time on-site and shifting her practices earlier to give herself a full day away from tennis. The change has helped me mentally. She’s playing with more joy and freedom.

In short, Angie Kerber is having fun again.

“The mental side, it’s the most important thing,” Kerber said. “I know that I can play tennis, I showed it so many times. It’s more about being here, focusing on this moment, not having my mind on something else, on being with Liana right now. So far it works good.”

Former No.1 Kerber moves on; will face Swiatek in Round of 16

“I am there to win the match. I’m not going there just to perform good. This is not me.”

– Angelique Kerber

Kerber knows she’s up against it against Swiatek. The two have practiced together in the past and Swiatek beat her 6-3, 6-0 in January at the United Cup.

“To be honest, I have nothing lose,” Kerber said. “She is honestly now one of the best players, on clay especially, in the women’s draw. I know I have to play my best tennis. I know what to expect for sure.

“I know I have to be aggressive. I know I have to serve good. but these are all the things that I know I have to play against everyone but especially against her on clay, one more ball will come back. She is confident, so it’s just going out there and finding my rhythm.”

Winner plays either Keys or Cirstea in the quarterfinals.

[18] Madison Keys vs. [28] Sorana Cirstea

Head-to-head: Cirstea leads 2-0

Coming off her semifinal run in Madrid, Keys’ clay-court resurgence continues in Rome. It may not be her favorite surface, but Keys was a finalist in Rome in 2016. Her power game translates well to the clay and she’s always been comfortable sliding. It’s just about making the right decisions in rallies, and Keys has come up clutch all month. She came through back-to-back three-setters to book her fourth-round spot this week, beating Camila Osorio and Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Despite their ranking differential, Keys may be the underdog when she faces Cirstea. The Romanian has never lost to Keys and earned her third Top 10 win of the year in the third round, defeating Marketa Vondrousova.

Winner plays either Swiatek or Kerber in the quarterfinals.

[3] Coco Gauff vs. Paula Badosa

Head-to-head: Badosa leads 3-1

Gauff is hoping on getting her serve sorted out before the French Open, but she’s perfectly willing to scrap through wins in the meantime. The World No.3 overcame 15 double faults to beat Jaqueline Cristian in three sets to advance to the Round of 16.

Now she comes up against a familiar opponent who is resurgent and built with a game that has troubled the 20-year-old American. Badosa has tallied three quality wins in Rome, beating Mirra Andreeva, Emma Navarro and Diana Shnaider. The back injury that marred her play over the last year appears to be under control and with that, the former No.2 is finding her top-flight game once again. It’s the first time she’s won three consecutive matches since her quarterfinal here last year.

‘What a shot!’ Badosa puts on a counterpunching clinic in Rome

“I respect her a lot as a person,” Badosa told WTA Insider. “There are great athletes on tour, but I love when there are great athletes who are a nice person. So we have a great relationship. She was very nice to me during the injury. She was texting me, checking in, so it shows how good of a person she is.

“She’s an amazing player, so mature, big shots. I love these kind of matches. I know it’s going to be a match maybe on Center Court and these are the matches that I’ve been waiting for the last year.”

Winner plays either Osaka or Zheng in the quarterfinals.

Naomi Osaka vs. [7] Zheng Qinwen

Head-to-head: First meeting

So can we call her “Clay-omi”? Osaka has not lost a set with wins over Clara Burel, Marta Kostyuk and Daria Kasatkina. Those last two wins were her first two Top 20 wins on clay in her career.

“Please don’t,” Osaka said with a laugh. “Please. I think I need more clay credentials for that.”

Osaka’s notable improvement on clay has come in part with a focus on playing her forehand with more spin and patience to set up her flatter swings. She’ll get a front-row seat for one of the heaviest forehands in the game in Zheng, who has trained on the clay in Barcelona for the last few years. Zheng won her first Hologic WTA Tour title on Italian clay in Palermo last year.

Aside from the tennis, the match offers a little bit of spice from the coaching box. Wim Fissette left Zheng to rejoin Osaka’s team last fall in a move that was loudly criticized by the Chinese star.

Water under the bridge? Just a few months later, Zheng reteamed with her former coach Pere Riba and made her first major final at the Australian Open in January.

Winner plays either Gauff or Badosa in the quarterfinals.

Note: Matches from the bottom-half of the draw will be added after play concludes on Sunday.


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