Venus Williams will begin her campaign in the 2019 Italian Open on Monday as a wildcard; to face the Belgian Elise Mertens in the first round. The match will take place on May 13 after 1:00 pm local time (12:00 pm BST). Get Venus Williams v Elise Mertens live streaming options here.
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Venus Williams v Elise Mertens Head to Head
Venus Returns to Rome
Venus Williams, who won the tournament back in 1999 at the start of her career, has returned to Rome after a brief hiatus on the WTA Tour. This, in fact, marks the start of her clay season this year.
The American, who is currently World No. 50, has had a pretty uneventful year so far. Her best run came in the Indian Wells Open, where she was a quarterfinalist. She also played in Miami after that run, where she made it to the fourth round before falling to Simona Halep.
There are speculations on the tour that Venus may retire from tennis this year although, it is yet to be seen how much truth there is to it. She hasn’t been at the top of her game since 2017 – a year that saw her return to top 10. Having spent most of her previous season struggling with her form, Williams will be keen on reaching the final one more time.
A Recent Loss in Form for Mertens
The 23-year-old Belgian had a pretty sensational start to the season. She started as the World No. 12 and later won the biggest title of her career – WTA Doha, where she defeated Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber, and Simona Halep to win the title.
After that phenomenal run, her form took a sharp hit. It was a disappointing spell by her standards, seeing that she succumbed cheaply to Qiang Wang and Marketa Vondrousova in Indian Wells and Miami.
She hasn’t had the best time on clay either, with early exits in Charleston, Stuttgart, and Rabat. Nonetheless, two of the five titles she won in her career have come on the clay courts. Last year, she won the Morocco Open and WTA Lugano.
Williams v Mertens Predictions & Tips
Williams will start this match as the favourite to win, given her massive experience. However, Mertens has been far more active than her and can very well put up a good fight. The Belgian is no stranger to playing (and winning) against the big guns.
Tip: Under 2.5 sets in the match: 1/2 (888Sport)