Ash Barty vs. Naomi Osaka, Shenzhen RR Preview

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‘‘๐Ÿฒ WTA Finals โ€“ Shenzhen RR preview
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต (3) Naomi Osaka

A blockbuster clash between Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka will kick-start singles play on Tuesday at the WTA Finals Shenzhen. Barty and Osaka both claimed hard-fought 3 set victories on day 1 of the tournament meaning the winner of this match will be the first to book a place in the semi-finals in Shenzhen.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during her RR1 match 2019 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Ash Barty battled from a set down to defeat Belinda Bencic 5-7 6-1 6-2 in her debut match at the WTA Finals. Bartyโ€™s win over Bencic means that Barty will become the first Australian woman to become the season ending world number 1. Bartyโ€™s dominance behind serve was key to her win over Bencic, the Barty serve was broken just once as she hit 10 aces and won 82% of her first service points. A similar serving performance against Osaka will give the top seed a great chance of scoring another win.

Naomi Osaka was also forced to battle hard for her opening victory in Shenzhen, Osaka fended off a strong fightback from Petra Kvitova to secure a 7-6 4-6 6-4 victory. Osaka was strong behind her first serve where she hit 12 aces and won 72% of points. However, Osaka was broken on 5 occasions and was fairly inconsistent, the Japanese star will need to produce a tidier performance if she is to knock off the world number 1 on Tuesday.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her RR1 match 2019 WTA Finals tennis tournament

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 2 wins apiece. Osaka holds a 2-1 edge on hard courts and has won their 2 most recent matches on a hard court. Most recently Osaka defeated Barty 3-6 6-3 6-2 in the final of the China Open earlier this month.

This is a very tough match to predict, a match that could easily go either way between arguably the 2 strongest players over the last 16 months. Iโ€™m going to give the slight edge to Barty. The main reasons for siding with the Aussie is that her serve is slightly more secure and her versatility on a slow, low bouncing surface has the potentially to frustrate Osaka in what should be a tight match.

Prediction: Ash Barty to defeat Naomi Osaka in 3 sets

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