WTA Rome third round preview: Carla Suárez Navarro - Timea Bacsinszky

11th seed Timea Bacsinszky and last year's Internazionali BNL d'Italia finalist Carla Suárez Navarro seeded eighth will clash in the third round with a place in the quarter-finals is at stake for these two clay court specialists in which will be their seventh meeting on the WTA tour, which the Spaniard leads 4-2.

They are scheduled first on the Grandstand court at 11am local time (5am EST).

How they got here

Last year's French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky made it into the third round in Rome by defeating Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 6-2 yesterday and she defeated Ukranian Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-4 in a match that lasted 1 hour and 19 minutes today. 

The Spaniard Carla Suárez Navarro gained a bye in the first round and in her second round match she defeated Brazilian Teliana Pereira 6-1, 7-5.

Bacsinszky  is due a good run in Rome as she lost in the third round at the Mutua Madrid Open champion Simona Halep in straight sets but she picked up good wins over top 30 players Andrea Petkovic and Ekaterina Makarova. The Swiss world number ten won a title in Rabat but it was a weakened field with Bacsinszky being the only top 20 player in the draw.

Suárez Navarro also suffered a third round exit in her hometown event in Madrid last week at the hands of 2010 French Open finalist and 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur in three sets and with the match being played at altitude, the conditions favored Stosur and her kickserve.

Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in action against Samantha Stosur of Australia in their third round match during day five of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 04, 2016 in Madrid. (Clive Brunskill/Getty)
Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain in action against Samantha Stosur of Australia in their third round match during day five of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 04, 2016 in Madrid. (Clive Brunskill/Getty)

Head-to-head

Suárez Navarro and Bacsinszky have met seven times on the WTA tour with Suárez Navarro leading their head-to-head 4-2. They have met four times on a hard court and twice on clay. Suárez Navarro won their first meeting in 2008 at Forest Hills, 6-4, 7-6(5), and the Swiss levelled their head-to-head in 2009 on clay in Prague with a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

They have met twice in Beijing with the Spaniard winning 6-4, 6-1 in 2012 and Bacsinszky's last win over Suárez Navarro was in Beijing was in 2015. a tough 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory. They met at Roland Garros in 2014 in the second round with Suárez Navarro defeating Bacsinszky 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 and they have played once this year in 2016 at the Qatar Total Open in the round of 16 stage which Suárez Navarro won 6-2, 6-2 en route to winning the championship there.

Bizarrely, in 5 of their 6 meetings, there has been a 6-4 scoreline involved.

Final thoughts

Both players will be looking at this match as winnable and a great opportunity to reach the quarter-finals in Rome and gain some more momentum before the French Open less than a fortnight away. 

Suárez Navarro will have more pressure as she will have finalist points from last year to defend and Bacsinszky will want to get the upper hand on Suárez Navarro too as she has semifinalist points from last year to defend at the second major of the year.

In theory, Suarez Navarro should win this match as she leads their head-to-head but they both know how to beat each other on clay as they have one win apiece to show for it but Bacsinszky is playing the better tennis at the moment.

Prediction: Bacsinszky to win in 3 sets.

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