Sophie Amiach makes her picks for Rome:

Simona Halep


“Simona Halep is undeniably the best player in the world on red clay. And even though she was beaten in Madrid by an explosive Kiki Bertens, the conditions in Spain have been favoring the hard hitters. Halep will be looking to win in Rome where it’s a more similar feel to the red dirt of Roland Garros – and it’s also the only major red clay tournament missing on her resume. If she does prevail in Rome, Simona will arrive in Paris as ultra-favorite to win her second Grand Slam title. Winning at the Foro Italico and in the City of Lights would be a scintillating double act for the Romanian.”

Kiki Bertens


“Showing more and more that she belongs at the top of the women’s game, her 2018 season was a display of success on all surfaces. Her win in Madrid makes her a threat. Her serve hasn’t shown to be exceptional in Madrid maybe as far as aces are concerned but she has proven to save her best serves for the most important moments in her matches. Now in Rome with very different conditions, a slower surface and the ball not flying through the air as much, will Kiki be able to get the joy that she experienced last week in Spain?”

Ashleigh Barty


“Ashleigh Barty has shown that she is capable of handling the pressure with calmness and control on the biggest of occasions. Winner of the 2018 Elite Trophy in Zhuhai and the 2019 Miami Open, she handles big stages very well. An outstanding athlete, very agile and smart, who has every shot to make big waves on the red dirt. One weakness, perhaps, is her ability to slide as well as the best players on that surface. But if she can mix up some serve and volley, and backhand slice approaches off the return of serve, and make these plays part of her tactics, she can be a really big threat in Rome.”

Sloane Stephens


“Finalist at Roland Garros last year, Sloane has shown her ability to play some of her best tennis on the red clay. Her movement and ability to change pace off her shots in general – especially off of her forehand – is staggering. It’s all a matter of how much Sloane is into it and totally focused in the moment. On a surface that requires the ability to sustain long rallies, agility, creativity mixed with a balance of power and control she is one of the best. Can she last physically, that is the question; in my opinion that would be the part of her game that could improve the most to get her in the Top 3 on the WTA Tour and potentially wins more majors.”

Outsider Pick:


“You guessed it! Who else but Serena Williams – you can’t ever count out the GOAT, no matter what, because she has proven time and time again that anything is possible. Serena only enters tournaments with the trophy in her mind and Rome is a springboard for her preparation for Roland Garros. She is chasing #24 to equal Margaret Court’s Grand Slam record and this is surely on her mind. She is hungry for it, has been preparing for it and working on her fitness. If she is fitter and healthy, watch out! Pure pleasure for all of us knowing that retirement is not yet on the cards.”


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Follow Sophie on Twitter at @sophieamiach and via her podcast Women’s10sTalk