Kiki Bertens vs. Elise Mertens, Brisbane R1 Preview

Brisbane International, R1 Preview
🇳🇱 (6) Kiki Bertens vs. 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens

Kiki Bertens will be searching for her first career win over Elise Mertens when the pair go head-to-head in a tough opening round match-up at the Brisbane International. Mertens always loomed as the toughest unseeded opponent, the world number 12 is the highest ranked player in the draw not to be seeded and will potentially be the highest ranked unseeded player heading into any event this year.

Mertens looms as a particularly tough opening round match-up for Bertens given their history. Mertens has won both of the previous meetings between the pair, both on a hard court and both in 2017. Mertens won 6-2 7-5 in Hobart and 4-6 6-4 6-2 in New Haven.

Both Bertens and Mertens have dramatically climbed up the rankings over the last few years, it will be interesting to see which of the pair can consolidate a spot in the top 10 in 2019. A win here would be a great start to the year for both. Who will it be?

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

Elise Mertens vs. Julia Goerges, Zhuhai RR preview + prediction

WTA Elite Trophy – Zhuhai RR preview + prediction
🇧🇪 (4) Elise Mertens vs. 🇩🇪 (5) Julia Goerges

Julia Goerges’ title defense is hanging by a thread heading into Thursday’s match with Elise Mertens. Goerges suffered a shock 3-set loss at the hands of Anett Kontaveit in her first match of the week whilst Mertens defeated Kontaveit in straight sets in her first match of the event. This all means that Goerges needs to win this match in straight sets to advance, otherwise Mertens will go through to the semi-finals.

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This will be the first career meeting between Mertens and Goerges. I’m going to side with Mertens here. The pair will be aware of the situation heading into this match, 1 set will do for Mertens. Once Mertens gets that set I think the resistance of Goerges will waver and Mertens will cruise to victory. Mertens has the versatile game that should frustrate Goerges, especially given how poorly Goerges played in her first-up loss to Kontaveit. Mertens on the other hand looked very solid in her first match and should be too consistent for Goerges.

Prediction: Elise Mertens to defeat Julia Goerges in 2 sets

Elise Mertens vs. Anett Kontaveit, Zhuhai RR Preview

WTA Elite Trophy, Group Stage: 🇧🇪 (4) Elise Mertens vs. 🇪🇪 (10) Anett Kontaveit

A pair of Zhuhai debutants will go head-to-head when Elise Mertens takes on Anett Kontaveit on Tuesday. Mertens and Kontaveit are at similar stages in their careers right now, both have had career best seasons and both will be keen to end fantastic seasons on a high. This should be an entertaining battle between two young stars on the rise.

Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in action during her third-round match at the 2018 China Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Elise Mertens has had an outstanding season but her singles form has deteriorated over the last couple of months. Mertens arrives in Zhuhai having lost 4 of her last 6 matches in singles. On the doubles court, Mertens is still going strong having won the title in Wuhan alongside Demi Schuur, the pair competed at the WTA Finals in Singapore last week where they lost their opening round match. Mertens has recently announced that she has split with her former coach, she will now be working with David Taylor, a very, very experienced coach. It will be interesting to see what impact that has on Mertens in her Zhuhai debut.

Anett Kontaveit is battle hardened heading into her first Zhuhai campaign. Kontaveit had a long Asian swing which was highlighted by a run to the final in Wuhan. Most recently the Estonian reached the quarter-finals in Moscow. It has been a career best season for Kontaveit and she gets one last chance to impressive in Zhuhai. Kontaveit has generally done pretty well at big events in 2018 so she is one to watch out for this week, if she plays her best she can be very dangerous to any opponent.

The only previous match between the pair to place in Biel last year, Kontaveit claimed a 7-6 6-7 6-1 victory.

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

Elise Mertens vs. Eugenie Bouchard, Montreal R1 Preview

🇨🇦 Rogers Cup, Montreal R1 Preview
🇧🇪 (14) Elise Mertens vs. 🇨🇦 (wc) Eugenie Bouchard

The face of Canadian tennis will begin her Rogers Cup campaign on Tuesday, Eugenie Bouchard will face a tough test when she takes on the 14th seeded Elise Mertens. This has been a good match-up for Mertens in the past and the Belgian has been one of the most consistent players on tour in 2018, does Bouchard have it in her to step it up and o cause a big upset at home?

Elise Mertens of Belgium in action during her quarter-final match at the 2018 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Elise Mertens started her North American hard court swing in style last week as she reached the semi-finals in San Jose. A noteworthy straight set win over Johanna Konta was the highlight of the week in San Jose, however the week did end in disappointment as Mertens seemed to break down physically in her semi-final loss to Mihaela Buzarnescu from a set up. It will be interesting to see where Mertens is at physically in Montreal.

Eugenie Bouchard has dropped down to the ITF level of late, playing a couple of lower level tournaments on clay after Wimbledon. Bouchard will begin her North American hard court swing in Montreal, the Rogers Cup has typically not been a successful tournament for Bouchard, she has struggled to deal with the pressure and attention she receives when playing at home.

Mertens crushed Bouchard in their only previous meeting at the tour level, a 6-2 6-0 win on grass in s-Hertogenbosch in 2016. More recently, Mertens defeated Bouchard 6-4 6-4 at the Hopman cup in January this year.

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

Simona Halep vs. Elise Mertens, Roland Garros R4 Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, R4 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇧🇪 (16) Elise Mertens

The top seeded Simona Halep continues her quest for an elusive maiden Grand Slam title on Monday with a fourth round clash against the 16th seeded Elise Mertens. The Belgian looms as a decent test for Halep as we enter the second week in Paris. Mertens has an awesome 14-1 record on clay in 2018, her only loss was at the hands of Halep in Madrid.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during the first round at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Halep made a nervous start to her Roland Garros campaign but has looked more solid in her last couple of matches. After coming from a set down to defeat Alison Riske in the opening round Halep was reasonably untroubled in her next couple of matches. Halep defeated Taylor Townsend 6-3 6-1 and Andrea Petkovic 7-5 6-0 to book her spot in the round of 16.

Elise Mertens is into the second week in Paris for the first time having smashed her previous Grand Slam best in Melbourne earlier this year where she reached the semi-finals. Mertens also came through a tough opening round match where she was forced to come from a set down to defeat Varvara Lepchenko. Mertens has certainly improved her level as the tournaments has gone on, the 16th seed defeated Heather Watson 6-4 6-3 in the second round followed by an impressive 6-3 6-1 demolition of the 24th seeded Daria Gavrilova.

The only previous match between the pair took place in Madrid earlier this year, the match ended in a comfortable 6-0 6-3 win for the Romanian.

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

Elise Mertens vs. Daria Gavrilova, Roland Garros R3 Preview

Roland Garros, R3 Preview
🇧🇪 (16) Elise Mertens to defeat 🇦🇺 (24) Daria Gavrilova

Elise Mertens and Daria Gavrilova will renew hostilities when they meet at the third round stage at Roland Garros on Saturday. Mertens has proven to be a real nemesis for Gavrilova in recent times, the Belgian has won the last two matches between the pair, both at the Grand Slam level, including a straight set win in Melbourne earlier this year. Gavrilova will be keen for revenge here as both players seek to reach the second week in Paris for the first time.

Elise Mertens of Belgium in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Elise Mertens has not been at her best through her first few matches in Paris, but she still managed to claim two hard-fought wins without a great level of tennis. Mertens started the event with a surprisingly long 6-7 7-6 6-0 win over Varvara Lepchenko. Mertens produced a slightly more consistent performance in the second round to defeat Heather Watson 6-3 6-4 but overall it was another unconvincing performance from the 16th seed. Mertens has made a real habit out of winning tough matches, she doesn’t need to play her best to win the majority of her matches, which is a good thing, but she will need to step it up to stay alive in Paris.

It has been a roller coaster ride to the third round for Daria Gavrilova. The Aussie came from a set and a break down in each of her first two victories in Paris. In the opening round Gavrilova defeated Sorana Cirstea 4-6 7-6 6-3 in a rain interrupted match. Gavrilova’s second round win was even more dramatic, a 5-7 7-5 6-3 win over Bernarda Pera. Gavrilova led 5-2 in the opening set before losing 8 straight games, Pera led 5-2 in the second set before losing 5 straight games, two huge collapses. Gavrilova was too solid in the deciding set, coming from 0-2 down to win quite comfortably. Gavrilova certainly isn’t playing great tennis but one can’t question her determination.

Mertens holds a 2-1 H2H record over Gavrilova. The Belgian has won the last two matches between the pair, a 7-6 1-6 6-4 win at Roland Garros last year and a 7-5 6-3 win at the Australian Open earlier this year. Will Mertens make it 3 in a row over the Aussie?

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

Simona Halep vs. Elise Mertens, Madrid R2 Preview

Mutua Madrid Open, R2 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens

A blockbuster second round clash in Madrid sees the two-time defending champion take on one of the form players on tour right now as Simona Halep comes up against Elise Mertens. Halep has won her last 13 matches in Madrid whilst Mertens is on an 11-match winning streak having arrived in Madrid fresh off winning back-to-back title in Lugano and Rabat. All is set for an exciting encounter in what will be the first career meeting between the pair. Can the in-form Mertens stop Halep’s magical run in Madrid?

Elise Mertens of Belgium in action at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open

Simona Halep made the perfect start to her title defense in Madrid. The world number 1 crushed Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-0 in just 51 minutes in what was a near-flawless performance by Halep. Halep is clearly the player to beat this week, the Romanian is extremely comfortable in Madrid, the quick clay courts suit her game perfectly. Halep is bidding to become the first player to win the Mutua Madrid Open on three occasions, the early signs are good for the top seed but Mertens will provide her first real test on Tuesday.

Elise Mertens is arguably the form player on tour right now. Mertens arrived in Madrid fresh off winning back-to-back title on clay, wins in Lugano and Rabat saw her reach an equal tour level high off 3 titles to her name in 2018 and rise to a career high ranking of 16 in the world. Mertens had little time to prepare for Madrid having arrived from Rabat a day before her first round match. Nevertheless, Mertens was solid enough to claim a 6-4 6-4 win over compatriot Alison Van Uytvanck, Mertens was too strong at the critical stage of each set.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out in what will be the first career meeting between the two. Expect a high quality match between two in-form and confident opponents.

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

Caroline Wozniacki vs Elise Mertens, Australian Open SF Preview

Australian Open, 🇦🇺 Semi-Final Preview
🇩🇰 (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens

Caroline Wozniacki and Elise Mertens will meet in the first semi-final of the day on Thursday at Melbourne Park. Wozniacki is now one step away from reaching her first Australian Open final, her third Grand Slam final overall and is two steps away from finally claiming a maiden Grand Slam title. In Wozniacki’s way is an in form Elise Mertens who will be competing in her first Grand Slam semi-final in what is her first ever appearance in the main draw at Melbourne Park. Whilst on paper this may look like an easy match-up for Wozniacki, Mertens is playing the best tennis of her life at the moment, if the Belgian can carry her quarter-final form into this match she will be a huge threat to the Dane.

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Caroline Wozniacki has never had a greater opportunity to win her first Grand Slam title. The Dane has improved her game in all area’s and may finally be ready to step up and make the most of this opportunity. Wozniacki received a second life in the tournament in the second round where she saved match point and came from 1-5 down in the deciding set to beat Jana Fett. Since that match, Wozniacki has been much improved. The world number 2 defeated Kiki Bertens and Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets before confirming her spot in the semi-finals with a 6-0 6-7 6-2 win over Carla Suarez Navarro.

Elise Mertens is riding a huge way of momentum, the Belgian has now won 10 matches in a row having arrived in Melbourne fresh off a title run in Hobart. Mertens has stormed into her first Grand Slam semi-final without dropping a set at Melbourne Park. Mertens strolled through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time with straight set wins over Viktoria Kuzmova, Daria Gavrilova and Alize Cornet. In the fourth round Mertens came through a nervy clash against Petra Martic before producing her best performance of the tournament thus far to thrash Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-0 in what was the best match the Belgian has played in her career. Mertens executed an ultra-aggressive game against Svitolina, playing a huge percentage of point inside the baseline, consistently punishing Svitolina with her powerful, dynamic game.

It was Wozniacki who won the only previous match between the pair, a hard-fought 7-5 4-6 6-2 victory on clay in Bastad last year. That match showed that Mertens does have the game to really challenge Wozniacki, if Mertens can bring her best tennis to Thursday’s semi-final match in Melbourne she may well cause another big upset.

Elina Svitolina vs Elise Mertens, Australian Open QF Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 Quarter-Final Preview
🇺🇦 (4) Elina Svitolina vs 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens

Elina Svitolina and Elise Mertens will both be aiming to reach a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time when the pair collide at quarter-final stage of the Australian Open on Tuesday. Svitolina and Mertens have had similarly impressive starts to the season. Svitolina arrived in Melbourne fresh off winning the Brisbane International title whilst Mertens entered the first Grand Slam of the year on the back of winning the Hobart International title. Who will keep their winning streak going and move one step closer to winning a maiden Grand Slam title?

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Elina Svitolina has been criticised for not having the Grand Slam results to match her lofty ranking. The Ukrainian has a major opportunity to change this in Melbourne. Svitolina has reached her third Grand Slam quarter-final, her first away from Roland Garros. The Ukrainian started the week with a comfortable win over Ivana Jorovic before coming from a set down to defeat Katerina Siniakova. The 4th seed has cruised into the final 8 with comfortable straight set wins over Marta Kostyuk and Denisa Allertova. There is a big opportunity for Svitolina to reach the final from here, Svitolina is a strong favourite against Mertens and will fancy her chances against either Caroline Wozniacki or Carla Suarez Navarro in the semi-finals.

Elise Mertens will be no pushover. Mertens is competing in the main draw of the Australian Open for the first time. It was been an outstanding couple of weeks for Mertens. This time last year Mertens was unable to compete in the qualifying draw because she was still in the Hobart draw. 12 months later, Mertens successfully defended her Hobart title and is now into her first Grand Slam quarter-final. Mertens has reached the final 8 in Melbourne without dropping a set. The 22-year-old has claimed straight set wins over Viktoria Kuzmova, Daria Gavrilova, Alize Cornet and Petra Martic.

It was Svitolina who won the only previous meeting between the pair. A 6-2 6-4 victory in the Istanbul final last year on clay.

Petra Martic vs Elise Mertens, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇭🇷 Petra Martic vs 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens

An unexpected fourth round match-up at Melbourne Park on Sunday sees Petra Martic take on Elise Mertens. This is a huge opportunity for Martic and Mertens, both ladies will be playing to reach the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam for the very first time. To add to the tension, this will be the first career meeting between Martic and Mertens.

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Petra Martic has made a good habit of saving her best tennis for Grand Slam events. Martic came through the qualifying draw to reach the round of 16 at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year and now finds herself at the round 16 stage at Melbourne Park for the first time. Martic started the event with a couple of tough straight set wins over Alison Van Uytvanck and Irina-Camelia Begu. Martic confirmed her spot in the round 16 with a 6-3 3-6 7-5 win over Lesia Kumkhum. The final set of Martic’s win over Kumkhum was one of the most entertaining sets of tennis of the tournament thus far. The pair remained on serve until 5-5 where Martic finally broke the Kumkhum serve before she successfully served out the match. Martic kept her cool under pressure very impressively in the final set against Kumkhum.

Elise Mertens is in awesome form. Mertens arrived in Melbourne on a high having successfully defended her Hobart title. Mertens has cruised through to the round of 16 in Melbourne without dropping a set, the first time she has reached this stage of a Grand Slam. Mertens started the event with wins over Viktoria Kuzmova and Daria Gavrilova before securing her spot in the round of 16 with a 7-5 6-4 win over Alize Cornet in brutally hot conditions.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair.