Ladies Championship, Gstaad, 🇨🇭🏔️ Semi-Final Preview
SF #2: (2) 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens vs 🇪🇸 Sara Sorribes Tormo
Kiki Bertens will be aiming to reach back-to-back finals in Gstaad when she comes up against Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first semi-final of the day on Saturday. Bertens has an extremely impressive 46-11 win/loss record on clay over the last two seasons and looms as the favourite to win the title in Gstaad entering the semi-final stage of the event. Sara Sorribes Tormo will be out to cause the upset of the tournament, the Spaniard will be aiming to reach her first tour level final and will need to produce the biggest win of her career if she is to reach Sunday’s final.
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Ladies Championship, Gstaad, 🇨🇭🏔️ Quarter-final Preview
(2) 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens vs (5) 🇸🇪 Johanna Larsson
The pick of the quarter-final clashes on Friday in Gstaad sees 2016 runner-up Kiki Bertens come up against an in-form Johanna Larsson. Bertens and Larsson both play their best tennis on clay and each enter this match with good momentum on their side.
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Roland Garros, 🇫🇷🐌 R1 Preview + Prediction
(18) 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens vs 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic
Kiki Bertens looms as a dark horse heading into Roland Garros 2017. Bertens made her big breakthrough at the event last year when she reached the semi-finals of the tournament, Bertens arrives in Paris on a high after winning the title in Nuremburg. Bertens takes on Ajla Tomljanovic in the first round in Paris, a potentially dangerous first round opponent for Bertens.
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Internazionali BNL d’Italia, 🇮🇹 Rome SF Preview
SF #1: (6) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs (15) 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens
Saturday’s first semi-final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia sees a red-hot Simona Halep take on the vastly improving Kiki Bertens. Simona Halep enters this semi-final clash on a 9-match winning streak having won the Mutua Madrid Open last week. The Romanian is now the favourite heading into Roland Garros and will look to build even more momentum by winning back-to-back titles.
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Qatar Total Open, 🇶🇦 First Round Match Preview:
🇩🇰 Caroline Wozniacki vs 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens
Caroline Wozniacki will be in action for the first time since her third round Australian Open exit when she opens her Qatar Total Open campaign against Kiki Bertens on Tuesday afternoon. Wozniacki made a strong finish to 2016 but failed to bring that same level to the start of the 2017 season. The Dane will be keen for a strong showing in Doha to really jumpstart her season. Wozniacki should enjoy this match-up against an out of form Kiki Bertens who is fresh off a very disappointing Fed Cup outing in Belarus last weekend.
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Roland Garros, First Round
(2) 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber vs 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens
Angelique Kerber will begin her 2016 Roland Garros campaign with a potentially dangerous first round clash against an in form Kiki Bertens. Kerber arrives in Paris on the back of consecutive opening round losses whilst Bertens arrives in Paris on a 7 match winning streak after coming through the qualifying draw to win the title in Nurnberg last week. Bertens is very comfortable on a clay court, whilst the same cannot be said about Kerber. An upset looks like a real possibility.
Angelique Kerber’s form has generally been unspectacular since she claimed her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne earlier this year. The German has often struggled on the clay and that has once again been true in 2016. Kerber suffered first round losses in Madrid and Rome, beaten by Barbora Strycova and Eugenie Bouchard. Kerber did win the title in Stuttgart but the conditions in Stuttgart are nothing like the heavy conditions in Paris. Roland Garros has been Kerber’s least successful slam, but Kerber has still had some decent results in Paris having made the quarter-final stage in 2012 and has twice reached the fourth round.
Kiki Bertens is a player on the rise. The 24-year-old has already won 35 matches in all competitions in 2016 and arrives in Paris on a high after claiming the singles and doubles title last week in Nurnberg. Bertens dropped just 1 set in 7 victories on route to the title last week, the prefect preparation for her first round match at Roland Garros. Bertens has thrived in Fed Cup action, guiding the Netherlands to the semi-finals in 2016 where she won both of her singles matches in an away tie with France (on clay against Mladenovic and Garcia). Clearly Bertens is not daunted by the big stage.
The only previous meeting between Kerber and Bertens took place earlier this year in Miami. Bertens was all over Kerber in that match, but an injury halted her progress and she was forced to retire from that match in the third set with the score at 1-6 6-2 3-0. Bertens has all the weapons to trouble Kerber, especially on a traditional clay court. If Bertens serves well she has a good chance to cause an upset here because she will be able to put pressure on Kerber in the majority of the German’s service games. It seems like a top seed is always eliminated from the early stages of a Grand Slam, it looks like it could be Kerber on this occasion.
Prediction: Kiki Bertens to defeat Angelique Kerber in 3 sets
Hobart QF: (Q) Kiki Bertens vs (3) Dominika Cibulkova
Dominika Cibulkova looms as the most dangerous unseeded player heading into next week’s Australian Open. The Slovakian continues to gain momentum heading into her most successful Grand Slam. Dominika has a wonderful chance to reach the semi-finals at the Hobart International on Thursday when she comes up against Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens in the first quarter-final of the day.
Kiki Bertens is having a great week in Hobart, coming through a relatively tough qualifying draw to make a rare quarter-final appearance. Bertens recorded victories over Smitkova, Sakkari and Cepede Royg to advance to the main draw where she has picked up victories over Madison Brengle and Annika Beck. Kiki’s 6-3 6-1 second round victory over Annika Beck in the second round was particularly impressive. Bertens will face her biggest test of the week when she comes up against the 2014 Australian Open runner-up on Thursday afternoon.
Dominika Cibulkova has played some good tennis in Hobart this week. The Slovakian started the week with a very hard-fought 7-6 7-5 victory over Johanna Konta. Domi came from 1-6 down in the first set tiebreaker, winning 7 straight points to steal the opening set. Dominika also came from behind in the second set, overall it was a typically gutsy victory. The Slovakian’s second round victory was far more straightforward, 6-1 6-0 demolition of Kimberly Birrell in just 49 minutes.
Surprisingly, It was Kiki Bertens who won the only previous meetings between the pair, a 7-5 6-4 victory at the Paris indoors in 2013. I suspect we will see a far different results here, Dominika looks very motivated this week and should match-up well here. Bertens has a big game but lacks variety and is the type of opponent that Dominika usually plays very well against.
Prediction: Dominika Cibulkova to defeat Kiki Bertens in 2 sets
U.S Open R2: (1) Serena Williams vs Kiki Bertens
Serena Williams couldn't have asked for an easier start to her 2015 U.S Open campaign. The three-time defending champion needed less than 30 minutes to advance to the second round, leading Vitalia Diatchenko 6-0 2-0 before the Russian retired injured. Serena faces Kiki Bertens in the second round on Wednesday, in what looks like another straightforward encounter for the American.
Serena’s opening match at Flushing Meadows was short and bizarre. Vitalia Diatchenko was clearly in no shape to be competing against the greatest of all time. Diatchenko picked up just 5 points in the first 8 games before finally throwing in the towel. It was a stress-free start to the tournament for Serena who will be hoping for a tougher test on Wednesday when she comes up against Kiki Bertens.
Kiki Bertens stormed through the qualifying draw at the U.S Open, winning all three matches in straight sets. Bertens set up a date with the world number 1 by defeating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 3-6 6-4 6-2. Bertens has spent the majority of the year at the challenger level, facing Serena Williams will be an almighty step-up in opposition.
This will be the first career meeting between Serena and Bertens. It’s impossible to see Bertens causing Serena any troubles, the world number 1 should advance to the third round without any drama. Serena will be looking to gradually raise her level as the tournament goes on, no matter who is on the other side of the net.
Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Kiki Bertens in 2 sets
Day 9 was kind of a let down. Halep vs Stephens promised so much but the match didn't really deliver. It was a lacklustre match, especially at the end. Even the crowd seemed unexcited, you could hear a pin drop after numerous points even towards the end of the match. Halep was just too solid for Stephens who was slightly off, which was a shame because there was evidence that she could have really troubled the Romanian.
The highlight of the day for me was the first set between Sara Errani and Jelana Jankovic. A drama filled set that lasted for 81 minutes, Jankovic twice serving for the set and blowing a set point. Errani raised her game to an amazing level towards the end of the set, Jankovic just couldn't hit past the Italian. Jankovic had to come up with something spectacular to get past Errani and she did on a number of occasions but it was not enough. Errani seemed to have a commanding lead in the tiebreak when she was up 5-2 but Jankovic came back to level at 5-5. Jankovic played two disappointing points here, succumbing to the pressure of the Italian.
In the second set Jankovic came out looking very frustrated and impatient. She had seemingly given up on the match after the disappointment of losing such a close opening set. Errani easily took the second set 6-2. The ongoing battle between Jelana's vocal support crew and the rest of the crowd was also quite amusing.
What's also interesting is that in Errani's press conference she said she didn't believe anything was wrong with Jelana when she took her medical timeout. Errani did seem to be rather annoyed by the situation at the time.
The petkovic/Bertens match certainly wasn't played at the highest level but with so much on the line the last set was intriguing. Bertens closed to within one game of the quarterfinals and it seemed that the pressure would be too much for Petkovic. The German remained calm and actually raised her level in the last few games.
Kuznetsova continues to impress. Another solid victory over a dangerous opponent. Kuznetsova seemed to always be in control of the match, Safarova did fight back late in the second set but it was all too late.
The door is open for an unexpected Grand Slam champion in Paris, the two favourites left Sharapova and Halep are far from unbeatable.
28th seed Andrea Petkovic has reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the fourth time in her career. This is the first time the German has reached this stage of a Grand Slam since returning from injury. Petkovic came back from a set down to defeat qualifier Kiki Bertens 1-6 6-2 7-5.
Kiki Bertens came out swinging freely, dominating her opponent in the opening set. It was in the third game that Bertens made her first move, breaking Petkovic to love. In the next game Bertens consolidated the break, successfully implementing a drop shot on two occasions. Bertens would break once again for a 4-1 lead, again using the drop shot and forcing an error from Petkovic. The set quickly slipped away from Petkovic who was becoming increasingly frustrated, Bertens taking the opening set 6-1. Bertens hit 10 winners to just 4 unforced errors, a commanding opening set from the qualifier.
The second set was a completely different story, Petkovic raising her game whilst Bertens began to hit far too many unforced errors. Petkovic would get herself back on track in the opening game of the set, breaking with a crosscourt forehand winner. Petkovic quickly took a commanding 5-1 lead in the second set. There was some late resistance from the qualifier but it was all too late, Petkovic levelling the match at one set all. Bertens hit a whopping 20 unforced errors in the second set, 5 times more than she hit in the opening set.
The third set was a tight battle all the way to end. It was Andrea Petkovic who obtained the first significant lead. Petkovic broke in the fifth game before consolidating the break with a service hold in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. At this point Petkovic had only hit 1 winner for the set so the match was still on the racquet of Bertens. Bertens began to hit freely again, winning three straight games to close to within one game of the quarterfinals. Having not served all that convincingly throughout the match the pressure was on Petkovic to hold to stay in the match. The German stood tall, a solid service hold saw the set levelled at 5-5. Nerves seemed to get the better of Bertens at this point, a double fault and some loose errors handing Petkovic the break and a chance to serve for the match. Petkovic was up to the task, finishing the match off with forehand winner down the line on her second match point.
Petkovic's experience seemed to drag her across the line in the end. The Germans reaction after the match showed just how much this win means to her, reaching the quarterfinals of a grand slam for the first time since her injury layoff. The German could go even further with a winnable math to come.