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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Talented qualifier Gavrilova could fly in against Bertens

Dutchwoman dangerous by virtue of greater experience

Daria Gavrilova is playing her best clay tennis for a long time
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Italian International
Sky Sports 3 & BT Sport 1, 11am Friday

Daria Gavrilova was teased by her many friends on the WTA Tour for forgetting to book her place in the Italian Open main draw but the Australian, who was forced to qualify for Rome, is making up for her faux pas with a passion.

Gavrilova, who was beaten by Maria Sharapova in the Foro Italico semi-finals in 2015, has taken time to adjust to represent­ing Australia since moving there from Russia later that year.

The 2010 US Open junior champion has always had bags of talent and she and Nick Kyrgios helped Australia to lift the Hopman Cup last year.

But Gavrilova may now be a genuine force again on clay and if that’s the case, she could be a threat to anyone this week.

Her quarter-final opponent is Kiki Bertens, who is improving nicely on clay without winning trophies of note.

Bertens, who defeated Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 6-1 in the last 16, could be dangerous by virtue of her greater experience, but talentwise Gavrilova takes the biscuit.

Anyone who has backed Gavrilova at up to 100-1 for the title will be starting to get excited, but with last week’s Madrid Open champion Simona Halep likely to be standing guard at the semi-final stage it’s a bit too early to go overboard about the qualifier’s outright chance.

Alexander Zverev has a fine opportunity to progress to the Rome final after ousting Andy Murray’s conqueror Fabio Fognini yesterday.
But Marin Cilic, who ousted David Goffin, may still prove difficult to oust should the pair clash in the last four.

Recommendation
D Gavrilova
1pt 11-8 Betfred, Sky Bet

Gavrilova, beaten by Maria Sharapova in the Foro Italico semi-finals in 2015, has taken time to adjust to represent­ing Australia
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