Belgium’s no.11 seed Elise Mertens will play Montenegro’s finest player Danka Kovinic in the third round of the 2020 Italian Open on Friday, September 18. The match begins at 11 am local time (10 am BST). Get the live streaming options of this Elise Mertens v Danka Kovinic match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Elise Mertens v Danka Kovinic Head to Head
Mertens won the pair’s only meeting 6-2 6-0 in the first round at this year’s Australian Open.
Mertens’ Good Form Goes Unnoticed
Sometimes the headliners are too good, we forget the stories. That very much epitomizes women’s tennis and Elise Mertens – one of the most hardworking players in the game. The Belgian’s intensity and focus has gone up a notch since the tour restarted last month, but only the keenest of watchers have taken notice of the 24-year-old’s form.
Mertens was beaten in the first round in Palermo, her only stain in what has been a very productive second half of the year. She made the finals in Prague after that, losing out to Simona Halep.
At the Cincinnati Open in New York she was beaten by Naomi Osaka in the semifinals. And most recently at the US Open, she made the last eight without dropping a set before she was overwhelmed by Victoria Azarenka 6-1 6-0.
Seeded 11, Mertens had never reached the second round of the Italian Open before. Her first participation came last year where she lost to Venus Williams in the first round. However, she has gone one better this year, beating Hsieh Su-wei and Magda Linette in succession to reach the third round.
Kovinic Sent Bencic Packing on Wednesday
Danka Kovinic scored arguably the finest win of her career in beating the no.6 seed Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour. It was her second victory over a top-10 player in her career, and in the process advanced into the round of 16 in Rome for the first time.
The 25-year-old came through two qualifying matches unscathed, and demolished Julia Goerges in the first round 6-0 6-1. Goerges who is known for her ferocious groundstrokes and booming serve, saw her big game teared apart by the tenacious Montenegrin. She will now be looking to reach back-to-back quarterfinals after making the last eight in Istanbul last week.
Kovinic has been ranked as high as no.46 (in 2016), but slipped as low as no.211 in October 2018 following a run of poor form and inconsistent results. She has since launched a successful bid to re-enter the world’s top-100 after performing with distinction in 2019 at the lower-tier tournaments.
Can she avenge her defeat to Mertens in Melbourne?
Mertens v Kovinic Prediction & Tip
Kovinic has been in terrific form in the last week, carrying momentum from Istanbul to Rome. Mertens on the other hand has been one of the best performers since the WTA tour resumed last month, making the quarterfinals or better in three of four tournaments she played.
As good as Kovinic has looked this week, lest we forget she beat Bencic and Goerges, two players who haven’t kicked a ball since the tour was suspended. It would be different against Mertens.
Tip: Mertens to win in straight sets: 3/5 (bet365)