World No. 10 Garbine Muguruza didn’t play for nearly two months between Indian Wells and the Mutua Madrid Open, where she lost, 6-3, 6-0, to world No. 36 Anhelina Kalinina in the Round of 32. The Spaniard is now back on the court at the Italian Open, and she’s set to take on world No. 40 Yulia Putintseva in her first match here.

This match-up is one that has been kind to Muguruza in the past, with the 28-year-old having never lost a set to her opponent in three career meetings. They last met in Charleston in 2021, when Muguruza was forced to retire despite being up 6-0, 2-2. Their previous two matches both ended with the Spaniard winning in straight sets, and one of those came at the French Open. That type of dominance is obviously hard to ignore, but we’re expecting Putintseva to put up more of a fight in their fourth meeting.


Muguruza is a fantastic clay-court player, so it won’t take her long to find her footing on the dirt this season. However, she has played only two matches on the surface in 2022, which means she has only made two clay-court appearances since last year’s French Open. That was a year ago at this point, so there is going to have to be some on-court rust for her to knock off. Meanwhile, Putintseva is 8-3 in clay-court matches this season. She had to go through qualifying to get to this point in the tournament, but that has allowed her to get her feet wet here.

Overall, it’s just hard not to see Putintseva as the player that will be more prepared for this match. Muguruza could ultimately go on to win, as she is just the better player between the two. But Putintseva being in good form coming into this match should allow her to hang around for a bit here. Perhaps the 27-year-old will end up snagging a set, which would have Over bettors in great shape. It’s nearly impossible for a total like this to lose if the match goes to a decider, and it’s difficult to rule that out after the way Kalinina disposed of Muguruza in Madrid.

This conditions in Rome more encapsulate what you’ll see at the French Open, which is an event Muguruza won back in 2016. So, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Spaniard plays better here than she did in Madrid. But we’re still working under the assumption that the gap between her and Putintseva won’t be too large on Wednesday.

The Pick: Over 20.5 Games (-135)