Ashleigh Barty vs. Elina Svitolina, WTA Finals Shenzhen Final Preview

🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen Final preview
🇦🇺 (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇺🇦 (8) Elina Svitolina

A blockbuster championship match will conclude the inaugural WTA Finals Shenzhen as top seed and world number 1 Ashleigh Barty comes up against defending champion Elina Svitolina. It is Svitolina who heads into this match with a distinct edge given her dominant 5-0 head-to-head record over the Aussie. However, Barty has improved significantly in 2019, has the world number 1 improved her game enough to finally get the better of Svitolina?

Ash Barty has the chance to finish her greatest season on the ultimate high. Barty will end the year as number 1 and can extend the gap at the top even further by winning the WTA Finals in her first appearance at the event. Barty had a roller-coaster ride through the group stage but still managed to top the red group. Barty started the event with a 3-set win over Belinda Bencic before losing from a set and a break up to Kiki Bertens. The Aussie secured her spot in the final 4 with a straight set win over Petra Kvitova before booking a spot in the final with a hard-fought 4-6 6-2 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova.

Elina Svitolina heads into Sunday’s final in Shenzhen on an incredible 9-match winning streak at the WTA Finals. The defending champion has been in outstanding form all week, thriving on the grind on the slow courts in Shenzhen. Svitolina topped the purple group with straight set wins over Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and Sofia Kenin. The Ukrainian’s first lapse came in her semi-final victory over Belinda Bencic, Svitolina won via retirement 5-7 6-3 4-1. There was an element of luck to Svitolina’s win over Bencic but credit to Svitolina, she is in outstanding shape and simply incredibly tough to beat on this surface.

Svitolina has won all 5 of the previous matches between the pair. 3 of those victories were in straight sets and 4 of them were on hard courts. The most recent match between the pair was the closest Barty has come to victory, Svitolina required over 3 hours to claim a 7-6 5-7 6-4 win over the Aussie in Indian Wells earlier this year.

I have to side with Svitolina here. The head-to-head record does not lie. Svitolina has the clear edge in this match-up having won all 5 of their previous matches. Barty has admitted that Svitolina is her toughest opponent and it is easy to see why. It is incredibly tough for Barty to consistently hit through Svitolina, Svitolina is happy to engage in a scrap with Barty, the Ukrainian is consistent and disciplined and not afraid of the Barty backhand slice, Svitolina is happy to trade cross court over and over again with Barty and will come out on top more often than not. The slow hard courts in Shenzhen favour Svitolina in this match-up, expect the defending champion to be too solid on a surface that will allow her play this match on her terms.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Ashleigh Barty in 2 sets

Ashleigh Barty vs. Karolina Pliskova, WTA Finals Shenzhen SF Preview

🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen SF #2 preview
🇦🇺 (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇨🇿 (2) Karolina Pliskova

The top 2 players in the world will do battle in the second semi-final from Shenzhen as Ash Barty comes up against Karolina Pliskova. This is one of the tour’s most competitive match-ups, the pair have split their 4 tour level meetings and both will head into this match with confidence. Who will book their place in Sunday’s final at the WTA Finals Shenzhen?

Ash Barty has secured her spot as season ending number 1 and is now a few wins away from securing her first WTA Finals crown. Barty has probably secured her status as player of the year in 2019 and will certainly have that honour if she can go on to win the title this week. It has been an up and down week for Barty. The Aussie started the event with a comeback win over Belinda Bencic in 3 sets before succumbing to Kiki Bertens in 3 sets from a set and a break up. The Reigning Roland Garros champion secured her spot in the final 4 with a commanding straight set victory over Petra Kvitova to finish on top of the red group.

Karolina Pliskova is through to her third consecutive semi-final at the WTA Finals. Pliskova will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky as she aims to reach the final of the event for the first time at her third attempt. Pliskova’s week started in disappointment as she was beaten by Elina Svitolina in straight sets. Pliskova received a lifeline in her second group match when Bianca Andreescu retired injured. It was all or nothing for Pliskova and Simona Halep in the final match from the red group and it was Pliskova who came out on top 6-0 2-6 6-4.

Barty holds a slight 3-2 head-to-head record over Pliskova. The pair have split their last 4 meetings at the tour level, each match was reasonably tight. There has been at least 1 tiebreak set in 4 of their 5 matches and at least 1 close set in each match. It was Barty who emerged victorious in their most recent match, a 7-6 6-3 win for the Aussie in the Miami Open final earlier this year.

I’m going to side with Barty here. On a very slow court, the variety and consistency of Barty should give her the slight edge over Pliskova. The Barty slice could be especially troublesome for Pliskova on this surface, especially at the end of the season when footwork isn’t necessarily as sharp. Importantly, Barty can match the power and accuracy of Pliskova on serve, Barty’s return is slightly stronger and I would give the Aussie the edge in neutral baseline exchanges.

Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to defeat Karolina Pliskova in 3 sets

Ash Barty vs. Naomi Osaka, Shenzhen RR Preview

🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview
🇦🇺 (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇯🇵 (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. Barty’s win over Bencic means that Barty will become the first Australian woman to become the season ending world number 1. Barty’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. I’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

Ashleigh Barty vs. Belinda Bencic, Shenzhen RR Preview

🇨🇳👑🐲 WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview
🇦🇺 (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇨🇭 (7) Belinda Bencic

Ash Barty and Belinda Bencic will go head-to-head for the first time as the pair kick-start their respective debut appearances at the season ending championships. Ash Barty may head into this tournament as the world number 1 but she will have her work cut out to live up to that ranking, Barty has a poor record against her fellow elite 8 members and will face a tough first-up test against an in-form Bencic.

Ash Barty arrives in Shenzhen fresh from a strong Asian Swing. Barty reached the semi-finals in Wuhan before making the final in Beijing. A lingering calf injury was the only major concern for Barty during the Asian swing but she has had some time off back at home before arriving in Shenzhen and should be ready to go come Sunday. Barty finished 2018 on a high by winner the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai so she does have some experience in this type of event despite this being her first showing at the WTA Finals.

Belinda Bencic just snuck into the 2019 WTA Finals at the last minute. Bencic secured her spot in Shenzhen last week by winning the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Bencic claimed several hard-fought wins in Moscow under great pressure so she arrives in Shenzhen full of confidence and essentially with nothing to lose. Bencic may have been the last to qualify for the event but she is a contender, the Swiss player has a good record against her fellow elite 8 members and has always thrived when playing against the best.

Surprisingly this will be the first career meeting between Barty and Bencic.

I’m going to side with Bencic here. Bencic is battle hardened heading into this opening match having just won the Kremlin Cup a week ago, conversely Barty hasn’t completed a match in almost a month and may take a while to find her rhythm. Bencic has the consistent and efficient game to deal with the variety of Barty, If Bencic remains patient in the rallies and waits for her chance to pull the trigger up the line, she should be strong enough to get the better of the Aussie, especially on an indoor hard court.

Prediction: Belinda Bencic to defeat Ashleigh Barty in 3 sets

Ashleigh Barty vs. Lauren Davis, US Open R2 Preview

🇺🇸🗽🍎 US OPEN, R2 match preview
🇦🇺 (2) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇺🇸 Lauren Davis

The second seeded Ash Barty continues her US Open campaign on Wednesday with a second round clash against Lauren Davis. Barty will be hoping for an improved performance after she was forced to come from a set down against Zarina Diyas in her opening round match at Flushing Meadows. Davis will have other ideas and has proven to be a player capable of causing big upsets at majors.

Ash Barty made a less than convincing start to the final major of the season. The reigning Roland Garros champion was rusty in a 1-6 6-3 6-2 win over Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas. Barty arrived in New York fresh from a semi-final showing in Cincinnati where she also had to battle from a set down on multiple occasions, it’s good that the Aussie is able to come through these tough situations but she would certainly like to be playing better tennis.

Lauren Davis is through to the second round at the US Open for the third time in her 7th main draw appearance at the event. Davis has never made it past the second round in New York and will need to claim a huge upset win to change that in 2019. Davis started her campaign with a 7-5 6-2 win over Swedish qualifier Johanna Larsson but will face a far stronger challenge against the second ranked Ash Barty. Davis can take confidence from her big upset win over Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon earlier this year.

Barty won the only previous match between the pair, a 2-6 6-3 7-5 win in Acapulco in 2014. That win was considered an upset win for Barty, since then Barty is one of the most improved players on tour whilst Davis has made little ground.

I expect Barty to produce an improved performance here after a bit of a scare in her opening round match. This should be a comfortable match-up for Barty, the hard courts of New York suit Barty’s game perfectly and she has the game to handle Davis. Barty has the power to punish Davis and the versatility to unsettle the American. Barty is simply far more reliable and mentally tough.

Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to defeat Lauren Davis in 2 sets

Ashleigh Barty vs. Marketa Vondrousova, Roland Garros Final Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, Final Preview
🇦🇺 (8) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇨🇿 Marketa Vondrousova

A new Grand Slam champion will be crowned on Saturday in Paris as the 8th seeded Ashleigh Barty takes on the unseeded Marketa Vondrousova in the 2019 Roland Garros championship match. Barty and Vondrousova will both be competing in their very first Grand Slam singles final, a huge opportunity for both players. It is Barty who heads into this match as the favourite to lift the trophy, Barty is the more experienced player, the higher ranked player and has won both of the previous matches between the pair, but don’t take Vondrousova lightly.

Ash Barty came through a rollercoaster semi-final against Amanda Anisimova to secure her spot in the final. Barty raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set before dropping 10 of the next 11 games to find her self down 6-7 0-3 and seemingly heading for the exit door. However, the Aussie showed true resilience to rebound against a fearless opponent and secure a famous 6-7 6-3 6-3 victory. Barty’s versatility has caused her opponents all types of problems all tournament, she truly is a unique player in the women’s game, Barty’s slice backhand is one of the best shots in the women’s game at the moment.

At just 19-years of age Marketa Vondrousova is through to a Grand Slam final. Vondrousova certainly doesn’t play like a teenager on court. The young Czech star has played with a maturity well beyond her years to reach Saturday’s final without dropping a single set all tournament. Vondrousova’s gutsy 7-5 7-6 semi-final win over Johanna Konta typified her strong character. Vondrousova trailed 3-5 in each set but never lost her cool and eventually wore down Konta with her relentless scrapping from the baseline. Like Barty, Vondrousova is a unique player, she has it all, power, outstanding defense, great touch and a very competent net game.

Barty holds a perfect 2-0 record over Vondrousova. The Aussie has won both of the previous matches between the pair in straight sets, 7-5 7-6 on the Nottingham grass in 2017 whilst more recently Barty claimed a 6-3 7-5 win on a hard court in Cincinnati late last year. This will be their first meeting on clay court and easily the biggest match of both players respective careers. Who will prevail?

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Madison Keys, Roland Garros QF Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, QF Preview
🇦🇺 (8) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇺🇸 (14) Madison Keys

Ash Barty and Madison Keys continue their respective quests for a maiden Grand Slam title when the pair do battle at the quarter-final stage at Roland Garros on Wednesday. This is set to be an intriguing contest between two players at very similar stages in their careers. Barty and Keys were both seen as players on the cusp of breaking through to claim a major title heading into Paris, now the opportunity presents itself to the pair to grab that first major in Paris.

Madison Keys of the United States in action during her fourth-round match at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Ash Barty stormed through the first week in Paris without dropping a set. The 8th seed claimed straight set wins over Jessica Pegula, Danielle Collins and Andrea Petkovic in week 1 of the tournament. Barty’s first slight scare came in the fourth round where she was forced into a deciding set by Sofia Kenin. Barty was up to the challenge against a dangerous opponent as she cruised to a 6-3 3-6 6-0 victory. Barty has now reached back-to-back Grand Slam quarter-finals in 2019 having entered the season without reaching the final 8 of a major.

Madison Keys is through to the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam for the 7th time in her career and for the second consecutive year in Paris. Keys started her 2019 Roland Garros campaign with an easy straight set win over Evgeniya Rodina before battling past Priscilla Hon and Anna Blinkova in 3 sets. Keys produced her best performance of the tournament thus far in a 6-2 6-4 victory over Katerina Siniakova to secure her spot in the final 8.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. It was Barty who won the most recent match between the pair earlier this year, a fairly comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory on a hard court in a Fed Cup tie. It was Keys who won their only previous match on a clay court, a 6-3 6-2 victory at Roland Garros in 2017.

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Anett Kontaveit, Miami SF Preview

🇺🇸🐬 Miami Open, SF #1 Preview
🇦🇺 (12) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇪🇪 (21) Anett Kontaveit

Ashleigh Barty and Anett Kontaveit will both be playing to reach the biggest final of their careers when they do battle at the semi-final stage of the 2019 Miami Open. Barty and Kontaveit both came through tough quarter-final matches and are seemingly both in great shape heading into this match, expect a close one between two players on the rise.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during her quarter-final match at the 2019 Miami Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

The knock on Ash Barty heading into 2019 was that she didn’t play her best tennis on the biggest stages, that is starting to change for Barty and she is now within touching distance of the biggest title of her career in Miami. Barty cruised through her first couple of matches in Miami with straight set wins over Dayana Yastremska and Sam Stosur. Things got much tougher for Barty in her last couple of matches as she fought past Kiki Bertens and Petra Kvitova in 3 sets. Barty’s 7-6 3-6 6-2 win over Kvitova to book her place in the final 4 was particularly impressive, her first win over Kvitova in 5 attempts.

Anett Kontaveit is having her best tournament of the season thus far as she is through to her first semi-final of the year and the biggest of her career. Kontaveit started her Miami campaign with back-to-back 3 set wins, the Estonian defeated Amanda Anisimova 6-3 1-6 6-4 before battling past Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6 2-6 7-6. Kontaveit benefited from the retirement of Bianca Andreescu in the fourth round and went on to secure her spot in the final 4 with an impressive 3-6 6-2 7-5 win over Su-Wei Hsieh. Kontaveit was in real trouble against Hsieh when she trailed 0-4 in the deciding set but picked her game to storm to victory with 7 of the last 8 games.

The only previous match between the pair took place back in 2014 at the final qualifying round of Wimbledon, it was Kontaveit who won a tight one, 6-7 6-3 6-4. The pair have both improved dramatically since their last meeting, it will be interesting to see how the match-ups pans out this time around.

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Ashleigh Barty vs. Dayana Yastremska, Miami R2 Preview

🇺🇸🐬 Miami Open, R2 Preview
🇦🇺 (12) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇺🇦 Dayana Yastremska

Ash Barty and Dayana Yastremska will go head-to-head for the very first time in an intriguing second round match-up from the Miami Open in Thursday. Barty has been one of the most consistent players on tour in 2019 but will likely face a tough first-up test against Yastremska in Miami, Yastremska is a player on the rise with a an aggressive game and bold attitude.

Dayana Yastremska of the Ukraine in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Miami Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Barty has made a great start to 2019, highlighted by a run to the final in Sydney and her first Grand Slam quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open. However, Barty arrives in Miami fresh from a bitterly disappointing fourth round loss to Elina Svitolina in Indian Wells. Barty squandered several leads in her loss to Svitolina in what stands as the longest match of the season thus far, it will be interesting to see how Barty responds from that tough loss in Miami.

Yastremska has also made a great start to the season, highlighted by her title run in Hua Hin last month. However, Yastremska has struggled Since winning the title in Hua Hin, suffering opening round exits in Dubai and Indian Wells. Yastremska got back on the winners list in Miami with a fairly comfortable 6-3 6-2 triumph over Ekaterina Alexandrova.

This will be the first meeting between Barty and Yastremska, a match-up with an interesting contrast in styles. The all-court game of Barty up against the extreme baseline power of Yastremska.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Ashleigh Barty, Indian Wells R4 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇦🇺 (12) Ashleigh Barty

Elina Svitolina and Ashleigh Barty will renew hostilities on Tuesday at the BNP Paribas Open with a spot in the quarter-finals up for grabs. Svitolina has dominated this match-up, the Ukrainian has won all 4 of the previous meetings between the pair. Nevertheless, Barty is arguably in the best form of her career and will be very keen to finally grab a victory over Svitolina and more importantly reach the final 8 of a major event.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina will be trying to make the most of her second life in Indian Wells, over the next week, the Ukrainian could have easily been dumped from the tournament in her first match this week where she was forced to come from behind against an in-form Sofia Kenin to claim a 3-6 7-6 6-3 victory. Svitolina was again forced to work hard for her third round victory as she defeated Daria Gavrilova 7-5 6-4 in a tough contest.

Ash Barty is just one win away from securing a place in the top 10 for the first time. Barty has made a great start to the season, amassing a 14/3 win/loss record across all competitions. Barty has fairly comfortably moved through her first couple of matches at the BNP Paribas Open with straight set wins over Tatjana Maria and Jennifer Brady, Svitolina will be much greater test for Barty in the next round.

Svitolina holds a perfect 4-0 record over Barty. Svitolina has won the last 3 matches between the pair in straight sets, including a 7-5 6-4 victory in their most recent match in Miami last year. Can an in-form Barty finally pick up her first career win over Svitolina?

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