Simona Halep vs. Belinda Bencic, Dubai QF Preview

🇦🇪🐪 Dubai DFTC – QF Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇭 Belinda Bencic

Simona Halep continues her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign on Thursday evening with a quarter-final showdown against Belinda Bencic. Halep has done well to quickly recover from playing in the Doha final on Saturday and thus far has conserved energy well in Dubai given she is yet to drop a set.

Halep has done well to come through a couple of tight matches in straight sets to reach the quarter-final stage in Dubai. The 2015 Dubai champion started the event with a hard-fought 7-6 6-4 win over Eugenie Bouchard before battling past Lesia Tsurenko 6-3 7-5. Importantly, Halep has been able to raise her game at the business end of each set this tournament, that was on full display in the second set against Tsurenko where Halep won the last 12 points of the match, a good sign that Halep is feeling really confident at the moment.

Belinda Bencic is through to her first premier level quarter-final since Connecticut last year. Bencic started her Dubai campaign with a 6-4 7-6 win over Lucie Hradecka before cruising past Stefanie Voegele 6-1 6-1. Bencic’s best win of the tournament and indeed her best win of the year came at the third round stage where she saved match points in an epic 6-4 2-6 7-6 victory against Aryna Sabalenka.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. It has been a while since these two have gone head-to-head, their most recent match was back in 2015 in the Toronto final where Bencic won in 3 sets via retirement. Halep won their only completed match 6-4 6-1 at Wimbledon in 2014.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Angelique Kerber vs. Su-Wei Hsieh, Dubai R3 Preview

🇦🇪🐪 Dubai DFTC – R3 Preview
🇩🇪 (5) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇹🇼 Su-Wei Hsieh

Angelique Kerber and Su-Wei Hsieh will renew hostilities when they collide at the third round stage of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday. Kerber has made a decent start to the season and is seemingly on the cusp of breaking through to the next level, perhaps this week in Dubai?

IAngelique Kerber of Germany celebrates winning her second-round match at the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Kerber arrived in Dubai on the back of a decent week in Doha where she won a couple of good matches on route to the semi-final stage where she succumbed to the eventual champion Elsie Mertens. Kerber started her Dubai campaign with a topsy-turvy straight set win over Dalila Jakupovic. Kerber overcame a 1-5 deficit in the opening set on route to a 7-6 6-3 victory.

Hsieh has cruised through her first couple of matches in Dubai over solid opponents. Hsieh started the week with a 6-4 6-2 upset win over the 10th seeded Anastasija Sevastova before thrashing Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1 6-2. Hsieh will need to take her game to an even higher level on Wednesday in Dubai if she is to claim her first career win over Kerber.

Kerber has won both of the previous matches between the pair, but both of those wins were difficult, both wins were from a set down. The most recent match between the pair took place at the Australian Open last year where Kerber won 4-6 7-5 6-2 in a very high quality match.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Simona Halep vs. Lesia Tsurenko, Dubai R3 Preview

🇦🇪🐪 Dubai DFTC – R3 Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko

Simona Halep continues her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign on Wednesday with a third round meeting against the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko. Halep and Tsurenko played just last week in Doha where Halep claimed a comfortable win in straight sets, will we see a similar result here?

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Halep is starting to find her feet in 2019, the former world number 1 and reigning Roland Garros champion arrived in Dubai on the back of a solid run to the final in Doha last week and made a good start to her Dubai campaign yesterday. Halep received an opening round bye in Dubai before battling past Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 6-4 in a high quality encounter.

Lesia Tsurenko has won contrasting matches on route to the third round in Dubai. Tsurenko easily defeated Yulia Putintseva in the opening round where the Kazakh retired early in the second set. Tsurenko battled through her second round match where she outlasted Lin Zhu 6-4 6-7 6-3 in just under 2 and a half hours.

Halep holds a perfect 6-0 record over Tsurenko and has been completely untroubled in this match-up of late. Halep defeated Tsurenko 6-4 6-1 in Cincinnati last year, whilst just last week Halep claimed a 6-2 6-3 win over the Ukrainian in Doha. Halep has never dropped a set to Tsurenko on a hard court.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Kristina Mladenovic vs. Carla Suarez Navarro, Dubai R3 Preview

🇦🇪🐪 Dubai DFTC – R3 Preview
🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic vs. 🇪🇸 Carla Suarez Navarro

Kristina Mladenovic will return to action in Dubai on Wednesday for a third round clash with Carla Suarez Navarro, less than 24 hours after the Frenchwoman stunned the top ranked Naomi Osaka. Mladenovic enters this match on a high but will quickly need to refocus if she is to get past a tough test against the Spaniard.

Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Mladenovic secured her spot in the third round in Dubai with one of the biggest wins of her career. Mladenovic fairly comfortably defeated an out of sorts Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-3 having previously beaten Fatma Al-Nabhani 6-1 6-1 in the opening round. Mladenovic really stepped up her game against Osaka, amazingly she did not hit a single double fault which must be some kind of record for the usually erratic Frenchwoman.

Suarez Navarro is quietly having a good week in Dubai. Carla has navigated her way past two tough opponents with relative ease, Suarez Navarro started her Dubai campaign with a 6-1 6-3 win over Barbora Strycova before beating Shuai Zhang 6-4 6-4 to secure back-to-back wins for the first time in 2019.

Suarez Navarro holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Mladenovic and has won all 3 of their previous meetings on a hard court, including a 6-1 4-6 6-4 win in their most recent match at the US Open last year.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Simona Halep vs. Eugenie Bouchard, Dubai R2 Preview

Dubai DFTC – R2 Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇦 (wc) Eugenie Bouchard

Simona Halep begins her Dubai campaign on Tuesday with a second round match against Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard. Halep has dominated this match-up in recent times and is a strong favourite to continue that dominance here.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her semi-final at the 2019 Qatar Total Open WTA Premier tennis tournament

Halep is a former champion in Dubai having won the title in 2015, the second seed brings good form into this event after reaching the final last week in Doha where she claimed some notable victories. Halep has generally made a good start to the season and seems to be getting stronger and stronger as the season progresses.

Bouchard is slowly moving back up the WTA standings. Bouchard has made a decent stat to the year by her recent standards and did produce one of better performances of late to book her spot in the second round in Dubai as she comfortably defeated Vera Lapko 6-3 6-4 in little over an hour.

Simona Halep holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Bouchard. Halep has cruised through their most recent matches, including a 6-2 6-2 win at the Australian Open last year in their latest match.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Garbine Muguruza vs. Saisai Zheng, Dubai R2 Preview

🐪 Dubai DFTC – R2 Preview
🇪🇸 (12) Garbine Muguruza vs. 🇨🇳 Saisai Zheng

The 12th seeded Garbine Muguruza continues her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign on Tuesday with a second round clash against China’s Saisai Zheng. Muguruza claimed an important opening round win on Sunday against Dayana Yastremska, an opponent she has struggled against in the past and will look to keep that momentum going with a solid showing against Zheng.

Garbine Muguruza of Spain in action during the first round of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Muguruza fought from a set down to defeat Dayana Yastremska 4-6 6-3 6-3 to reach the second round in Dubai. A good win for Muguruza considering she lost to Yastremska in their only 2 previous matches. Though it must be said the match was not played at a high quality with the pair combining for over 100 unforced errors.

Saisai Zheng secured her spot in the second round in Dubai with a dramatic 3 set win over Ajla Tomljanovic. Zheng found herself up 5-1 in the deciding set but stumbled to lose the next 4 games as Tomljanovic levelled for 5-5. Zheng did well to remain composed given the circumstances and eventually claimed a 6-2 4-6 7-5 win.

The only previous match between the pair took place earlier this year at the opening round stage of the Australian Open, Muguruza won that match 6-2 6-3.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Naomi Osaka vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Dubai R2 Preview

🐪 Dubai DFTC – R2 Preview
🇯🇵 (1) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Naomi Osaka will be in action for the first time since her historic Australian Open triumph when she comes up against France’s Kristina Mladenovic at the second round stage of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The top seeded Osaka received a bye through the first round and will be playing her first match since splitting with coach Sascha Bajin.

Naomi Osaka of Japan during the All Access Hour ahead of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka is the undisputed world number 1 in the women’s game. Osaka has won the last two Grand Slam titles and now rightfully sits at the top of the rankings. All the more reason why her recent decision to split with coach Sascha Bajin was such shocking news, especially given how far she has come under his guidance. It will be very interesting to see how Osaka goes without Bajin, perhaps this is where she starts to stutter?

Kristina Mladenovic has made a typically ordinary start to the season but benefited from a favourable opening round draw in Dubai. Mladenovic came up against local wild card Fatma Al-Nabhani and easily won 6-1 6-1. Safe to say Mladenovic will face a far, far greater test against Osaka in the next round.

The only previous meeting between the pair took place in Dubai last year, Osaka won that match 6-2 6-2.

To view my analysis / prediction for this match: Click here

Elina Svitolina vs Daria Kasatkina, Dubai Final Preview

🇦🇪 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, 🏆 Final Preview
🇺🇦 (1) Elina Svitolina vs 🇷🇺 Daria Kasatkina

Elina Svitolina is just 1 step away from successfully defending her title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and claiming her second title of the season. Standing in Svitolina’s way is an in-form Daria Kasatkina, the Russian heads into Saturday’s final in Dubai fresh off an epic, confidence boosting 3 set victory over Garbine Muguruza. Svitolina has an outstanding record in finals having won her last 6 finals, the Ukrainian holds an overall 10/2 record in championship matches. Can Svitolina build of her impressive record in finals on Saturday in Dubai?

Daria Kasatkina of Russia in action during the semi-final of the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier tennis tournament

Svitolina has been typically consistent in 2018, the world number 6 has amassed a 13/2 win/loss record. Svitolina won more titles than any other player in 2017 and is now one step away from winning a second title in 2018 having started the year winning the Brisbane International title. It has been a decent week for Svitolina, the top seed has improved her level progressively as her opponents became tougher. The 23-year-old started the week with a scrappy 3 set win over Qiang Wang before navigating her way past the threat of Naomi Osaka in straight sets. Svitolina confirmed her spot in Saturday’s final with a surprisingly comfortable 6-3 6-3 win over Angelique Kerber.

Daria Kasatkina is having an epic week in Dubai. The Russian has saved multiple match points on two occasions on route to the final, claiming epic wins over Johanna Konta and Garbine Muguruza. On both occasions where Kasatkina saved match points she also came from a set and a break down, her opponent served for the match on each occasion before Kasatkina won a second set tiebreak and run away with the match in the third set. Kasatkina has also claimed straight set wins over Agnieszka Radwanska and Elena Vesnina this week.

Svitolina has won both of the previous matches between the pair, neither have been easy victories. A 6-4 5-7 6-0 win in New Haven in 2016 and more recently a 7-6 6-4 win at the Rogers Cup last year. Svitolina and Kasatkina are two of the quickest players on tour, two of the best defenders, expect to see a tight final in Dubai, featuring a lot of long rallies.

Elina Svitolina vs Angelique Kerber, Dubai SF Preview

🇦🇪 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, SF Preview
🇺🇦 (1) Elina Svitolina vs 🇩🇪 (6) Angelique Kerber

A blockbuster semi-final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships sees the top seed and defending champion: Elina Svitolina, take on the in-form player on the tour right now: Angelique Kerber. This will be the second time in as many years these two have gone head-to-head at the semi-final stage in Dubai. This has been a very successful match-up for Svitolina in recent times, the Ukrainian has won the last 4 matches between the pair, 3 of those victories were in straight sets. Nevertheless, it is Kerber who has been more impressive in 2018, can the resurgent German avenge her recent defeats at the hands of Svitolina?

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine in action at the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier tennis tournament

Whilst Svitolina has not necessarily been at her best in 2018, she still has a very positive 12/2 win/loss record thus far. Svitolina started her title defense in Dubai with a scrappy 3 set victory over Qiang Wang after receiving a bye through the opening round. The top seed confirmed her spot in the semi-finals by navigating her way past the dangerous Naomi Osaka 6-2 6-4. Svitolina’s consistency was too much for a wayward Osaka to handle, Svitolina will face a much tougher test in the next round as she takes on a red-hot Angelique Kerber, the German will not give Svitolina gifts like Osaka did in the previous round.

Angelique Kerber has won more matches than any other player in 2018, amassing a very impressive 19/2 win/loss record. Kerber has breezed through to the semi-finals in Dubai without dropping a set, claiming victories over Barbora Strycova, Sara Errani and Karolina Pliskova. Kerber confirmed her spot in the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-3 demolition of Karolina Pliskova. It was a near-flawless performance by Kerber who did not face 1 break point all match.

It is Svitolina who heads into this match with a 6-5 head-to-head record over the German. Svitolina has won the last 4 matches between the two and 6 of the last 9. The pair met on 3 occasions last year, Svitolina beat Kerber in 3 sets in Brisbane, straight sets in Dubai and 6-4 6-2 on clay in a Fed Cup tie in what was their most recent encounter.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Garbine Muguruza vs Daria Kasatkina, Dubai SF Preview

🇦🇪 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, SF Preview
🇪🇸 (2) Garbine Muguruza vs 🇷🇺 Daria Kasatkina

Garbine Muguruza and Daria Kasatkina will go head-to-head in the first semi-final at the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. If the last meeting between the pair is anything to go by, we are in for an exciting encounter. The most recent match between the pair took place in Brisbane last year, an epic which ended in a final set tiebreak, Muguruza saved match point on route to a memorable victory. Muguruza and Kasatkina are both in great form heading into this match, expect another close battle between two tough competitors.

Garbine Muguruza of Spain in action during her quarter-final at the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier tennis tournament

Garbine Muguruza is having a good couple of weeks in the Middle East after a poor start to the season. The Spaniard ignited her 2018 season in Doha last week where she reached the final, Muguruza fell just short against Kvitova in what was a high quality, 3 set final. It was an important week for Muguruza in Doha given she was yet to win back-to-back matches heading into the event. After a short turnaround, Muguruza has done well to adapt to the conditions in Dubai. The second seed has won a couple of straight set matches to reach the semi-finals in Dubai, beating Catherine Bellis 6-3 7-5 and Caroline Garcia 7-5 6-2.

Daria Kasatkina has also seen a seen a significant reversal in her fortunes over the last few weeks. It all started for Kasatkina in St. Petersburg where she upset world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki on rote to a semi-final showing. It has been another impressive week for Kasatkina in Dubai. The Russian has beaten 3 quality opponents on rote to the semi-finals. The 20-year-old started the week with a straight set win over former champion Agnieszka Radwanska before coming from a set and a break down, saving match points to defeat Johanna Konta. Kasatkina confirmed her spot in the semi-finals with a 7-6 6-1 win over Elena Vesnina.

Muguruza has won both of the previous matches between the pair. A 6-4 6-1 win on clay in Marrakech in 2015 and more recently a hard-fought 7-5 3-6 7-6 victory at the Brisbane International last year.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here