2024 Rome Open (Italian Open) WTA PREVIEW: Iga Swiatek, Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka headline battle for supremacy in Italian capital

Monday, 06 May 2024 at 15:25
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The Rome Open begins on May 7 and runs until May 19 with the WTA Draw spearheaded by Elena Rybakina who is defending champion as well as Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka who contested the excellent Madrid Open final.
Our preview looks ahead to the draw with the main talking points and leading lights looked at ahead of the draw starting on Tuesday.

Swiatek aims to regain Rome crown with stern competition

Unlike the ATP, the WTA field is basically complete with Iga Swiatek leading the way. She finally won in Madrid last week defeating Aryna Sabalenka in an epic final. Both will lead the way again this week on the road to Roland Garros. Swiatek has a lot of happy memories in Rome including her epic double bagel win over Karolina Pliskova back in 2021. She backed that up with victory in 2022. But in 2023, she drew a blank losing out in the Quarter-Final so will aim to make right on that. But last year, she was injured going into the tournament. This time around is a different picture.
Last year saw Elena Rybakina win who will be one of the leading protagonists again this time. She beat a surprise finalist in Anhelina Kalinina last year through a final walkover. But it was a tournament which after a bit of a mess of a Madrid Open was also fraught with issues.
Rybakina in particular was left almost exhausted heading into an ill fated Roland Garros after being forced to play mostly at the dead of night which started the real debate of last season which surrounded scheduling for WTA players and the lack of care at times that these players receive. So in reality, many of the top names were considerably disadvantaged. The same can be said for Madrid last year. Swiatek and Rybakina were two of the main proponents of these problems and since had their scheduling altered for this year's tournament so the likelihood is for similar especially with the lack of big ATP names.
Other players leading the way will include Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari, Marketa Vondrousova, Ons Jabeur among others with Jessica Pegula the main casualty who admitted she is unlikely even to play at Roland Garros. So while ATP has an injury crisis, it is a bit less so in WTA but still sees a big name miss out. But with the main three all in real form, it is certainly one that will be a true battle and the likelihood is all will get to the latter stages.
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Elena Rybakina will lead the way as defending champion.

No wildcards for Raducanu, Wozniacki and Halep

But while most of the big names will play in Rome. Three will not after not receiving wildcards with Emma Raducanu, Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep all not benefiting this time around.
It is unsure aside from Halep who had playing a WTA 125k up her sleeve in order to gain match time what is next. Raducanu in particular is playing Strasbourg, but has seemingly pinned her hopes on not having to play Roland Garros qualifying. She has entered despite it taking place that week.
The Brit oddly decided against playing qualifying for Rome and the rest of the spots were taken by Italian players as expected. Roland Garros will likely be the same so one to ponder for the leading wildcard trio.

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