Sloane Stephens vs. Kiki Bertens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇳🇱 (8) Kiki Bertens

Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens both made impressive winning starts in their Singapore debuts. As a result Stephens and Bertens now have a chance to almost certainly book a place in the semi-finals with a victory here. Adding to the intrigue is that this will be the first time Stephens and Bertens have gone head-to-head for over 5 years and will be just their second career meeting.

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her first match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens arrived in Singapore arguably in the worst form of all 8 of the participants. Nevertheless, Sloane has shown that she almost always drastically improves her level for big events and that was the case in her WTA Finals debut. Stephens took down reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka 7-5 4-6 6-1. Stephens successfully frustrated Osaka with her mix of attack and defense, Stephens broke the Osaka serve on 7 occasions from a whopping 19 break points chances. The reasonably slow conditions in Singapore seemingly suit the game of Stephens very nicely.

Kiki Bertens made another huge statement in her first ever match at the WTA Finals. Bertens came from a set and a break down to defeat Angelique Kerber 1-6 6-3 6-4. Bertens has now won 11 matches against top 10 opponents since Madrid this year. Bertens has made a habit of winning ugly, that was certainly the case here in what was a fairly messy deciding set with breaks of serve galore. Bertens served 12 double faults and had a first serve percentage of just 53% yet still managed to beat one of the best returners of serve on tour. Bertens will probably need to step it up if she is to claim her first ever win over Sloane Stephens.

It was Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair. A 4-6 6-3 6-2 win way back in 2013 in Rome. Much has changed since then, but another close match is to be expected.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Naomi Osaka, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇩🇪 (1) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka

Two of the pre-tournament favourites will collide in a must win match from the red group when Angelique Kerber takes on Naomi Osaka on Wednesday. Kerber and Osaka both suffered surprising 3-set losses to start their Singapore campaigns meaning the loser of this match is all but eliminated whilst the winner still has a good chance to progress to the semi-finals. Kerber has had the better of this match-up but Osaka has generally been in the better form of the two, this looks like a close one to call.

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her first match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

The top seeded Angelique Kerber arrived in Singapore in fairly poor form but was seemingly on track to start her Singapore campaign with a big win. It wasn’t to be as Kerber let a 6-1 2-0 lead slide in a 6-1 3-6 4-6 loss to Singapore debutant Kiki Bertens. Kerber was uncharacteristically errant in the big moments and really struggled behind her serve towards the later stages of the match. Kerber will be keen to rebound against Osaka, an opponent she has done well against in recent times.

Naomi Osaka was the form player heading into this event and the outright favourite to win the tournament. However, Osaka made a disappointing start in her Singapore debut, beaten by Sloane Stephens 5-7 6-4 1-6. Osaka was never able to find a high level on a consistent basis and produced an extremely poor serving performance. Osaka faced a whopping 19 break points and was broken on 7 occasions, far, far from the type of numbers we are used to seeing from Osaka over the last few months. Osaka will need a drastic improvement against a problematic opponent when she faces Kerber.

Kerber holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Osaka. It was Osaka who shocked Kerber in their first career meeting at the US Open in 2017. Since then Kerber has won their last 3 matches, all in straight sets. Their most recent match took place at Wimbledon earlier this year, Kerber won that match 6-2 6-4.

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Elina Svitolina vs. Karolina Pliskova, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, White Group match preview
🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova

The first spot in the semi-finals at this year’s WTA Finals will be up for grabs when Elina Svitolina takes on Karolina Pliskova in the second match from the white group on Tuesday. Svitolina and Pliskova both made bright starts to their Singapore campaigns with straight set victories over more fancied opponents. This is an interesting match-up because of the contrast in styles, Pliskova has generally had the wood over Svitolina but the Ukrainian has already defied a poor head-to-head record this week and will fancy her chances of doing the same here.

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during her first match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina began her second consecutive appearance in Singapore with a noteworthy 6-3 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova. It was clear that Svitolina was pumped for this match and she gave very, very little away on route to victory. Svitolina was at her solid best, a perfect mix of attack and defense totally bamboozled Kvitova. Svitolina will know that a similar style of play will likely get the better of Pliskova here.

Karolina Pliskova was also impressive in her first round victory as she makes her third consecutive appearance in Singapore, defeating defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4. What stood out in Pliskova’s win was her play under pressure, Pliskova saved all 10 break points she faced to remain perfect on serve throughout the match. Pliskova’s aggressive play was too much for Wozniacki to handle, a similar style of play will be required to get the better of Svitolina.

Pliskova holds a 5-2 head-to-head record over Svitolina. However, Svitolina has won the last couple of matches between the pair. The most recent match between the two took place in Brisbane earlier this year, Svitolina won that match 7-5 7-5.

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Caroline Wozniacki vs. Petra Kvitova, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, White Group match preview
🇩🇰 (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs. 🇨🇿 (4) Petra Kvitova

Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova both suffered first-up defeats in Singapore and will enter this match desperate for victory to maintain a realistic hope of progressing to the semi-finals. Wozniacki and Kvitova are both former champions at this event but both made poor starts on Sunday with straight set defeats thanks to uncharacteristically poor performances. Who will rebound with a victory here?

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in acton during her first match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Caroline Wozniacki arrived in Singapore on a high after winning the China Open in her most recent event. However, Wozniacki made a very disappointing start to her title defense at the WTA Finals, the Dane was comprehensively beaten by Karolina Pliskova 2-6 4-6. Wozniacki’s inability to take her chances was key to her loss, Wozniacki had 10 chances to break the Pliskova serve but did not take any of them.

Petra Kvitova’s sluggish start in Singapore was less surprising. Kvitova entered the tournament on the back of several early exits and has reportedly been struggling with illness during the Asian swing. Kvitova came up against a fired-up Elina Svitolina and was unable to consistently produce a high enough level to hit through the rock-solid Ukrainian, succumbing 3-6 3-6. Kvitova is the type of player that can never be dismissed, don’t rule out a drastic form reversal in her next match.

Kvitova enters this match with a 8-5 head-to-head record over Wozniacki. Kvitova has won the last 4 meetings between the pair dating back to 2015. The most recent match between the pair took place at the semi-final stage in Doha earlier this year, Kvitova won that match 3-6 7-6 7-5 on route to winning the title.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Kiki Bertens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇩🇪 (1) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇳🇱 (8) Kiki Bertens

The top seeded Angelique Kerber begins her Singapore campaign on Monday night against WTA Finals debutant Kiki Bertens. On paper this is the greatest mismatch of all the group stage matches but Kerber has not been in the greatest form of late and the newly crowned most improved player on the year Kiki Bertens is having the greatest season of her career. Can Bertens pull off the upset?

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in action during the first round at the 2018 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Angelique Kerber is the top seeded player in the draw and the player with the most Grand Slam titles to her name (3). However, Kerber’s form since winning Wimbledon earlier this year has not been great which has been true of her tendency to struggle after winning a major title. Kerber has achieved a modest 5-5 win/loss record since Wimbledon and has to be desperate to recapture her early season form to end another memorable season on a high.

Kiki Bertens is essentially playing with house money in Singapore. Bertens was part of the late dash for spots in Singapore as she competed in Moscow last week. Bertens seemingly blew her chance of qualifying when she was defeated in the first round by Aliaksandra Sasnovich but the withdrawal of Simona Halep handed Bertens a spot in the elite 8. Bertens has also been in modest form of late having won 4 of her last 8 matches, more importantly Bertens has been beaten by players she would expect to beat.

Kerber holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Bertens. The most recent match between the two took place at Roland Garros earlier this year where Kerber claimed a tight straight set win.

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Naomi Osaka vs. Sloane Stephens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens

Reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka will take on 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first match of the red group at the WTA finals Singapore on Monday. This will be just the second career meeting between two the tours brightest young stars, their only previous match took place at the quarter final stage in Acapulco in 2016, 2 and a half years later they meet in Singapore in very different circumstances. Who will win the battle of the US Open champions?

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her third-round match at the 2018 China Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka has been the best player in the world over the last couple of months, as a result it is Osaka who is considered by many to be the favourite heading into her maiden appearance at the WTA Finals. Osaka arrives in Singapore having won 14 of her last 16 matches which of course included her stunning triumph in New York followed by a finalist showing in Tokyo and a run to the semi-finals in Beijing.

Unlike Osaka, Stephens has not been playing very well of late. Stephens won just 2 of her last 6 matches and was part of a mad scramble for a position in Singapore that saw her play in Moscow last week. By the time Stephens took to court in Moscow her place in Singapore was guaranteed, Stephens suffered a first round loss to Ons Jabeur and was seemingly already planning her trip to Singapore. Like Osaka, this will be Sloane’s first appearance at the WTA Finals.

It was Sloane Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-3 7-5 victory in Acapulco in 2016. This is a fascinating match-up between two of the most dynamic players on tour, two players that should be inside the top 10 for years to come. Indeed this has potential to be a rivalry we will see a lot of in the future, who will gain the upper hand in Singapore?

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Caroline Wozniacki vs. Karolina Pliskova, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, White Group match preview
🇩🇰 (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova

Caroline Wozniacki begins her title defense in Singapore on Sunday with a clash against Karolina Pliskova in the white group. Wozniacki claimed the biggest title of the career at the time when she won the WTA finals for the first time 12 months ago and will hope to end the most memorable season of her career on a similar high in 2018. Wozniacki has a strong record over Pliskova and enters this match as a clear favourite but can she get the job done?

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in action during the final of the 2018 China Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Wozniacki has not been in the greatest of form for the majority of 2018 but enters the WTA Finals on a high having won the China Open a few weeks ago. The defending champion has thrived in Singapore where the conditions are seemingly perfect for her game. Wozniacki has competed in Singapore twice, she won the event last year whilst in 2014 she claimed 3 big wins before succumbing to Serena Williams in a third set tiebreak at the semi-final stage. The fairly slow, low bouncing courts in Singapore are the perfect conditions for the Dane, she will hope to use that to her advantage as she seeks another big title.

Karolina Pliskova just scrapped into this year’s WTA finals. Pliskova ventured to Moscow last week in an attempt to secure one of 3 remaining spots in Singapore, a first-up loss to Vera Zvonareva in straight sets meant that her destiny was in the hands of other results. Luckily for Pliskova results and withdrawals went her way, Pliskova will make a third consecutive appearance in Singapore. Pliskova’s recent form has been fairly strong during the Asian swing, highlighted by the title in Tokyo and recently reaching the final in Tianjin.

Wozniacki heads into this clash with a 6-3 head-to-head record over Pliskova. The most recent match between the pair took place in Singapore 12 months ago, Wozniacki won 7-6 6-3. Pliskova has had some success in this match-up of late, the pair have split their last 6 matches with 3 wins apiece.

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Petra Kvitova vs. Elina Svitolina, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, White Group match preview
🇨🇿 (4) Petra Kvitova vs. 🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina

The 2018 WTA Finals Singapore begins on Sunday evening with a white group clash between Petra Kvitova and Elina Svitolina. Kvitova heads into this match as the favourite, mostly thanks to her dominant 7-1 head-to-head record over Svitolina. However, Svitolina is never a pushover and will fancy her chances against a potentially rusty Kvitova. Can Svitolina start the tournament with an upset victory?

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during practice ahead of the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Petra Kvitova will be competing in Singapore for the first time since her runner-up finish in 2015. Kvitova has had an outstanding season having won 5 titles. However, Kvitova has not found her best tennis in the biggest events, Kvitova had only won 2 matches at Grand Slam events in 2018, the WTA finals presents itself as a shot at redemption as the largest tournament outside the Grand Slam events. Kvitova has won this tournament before, back in 2011 in Istanbul.

Elina Svitolina’s form has really dropped away in the second half of the season so she too has a point to prove in Singapore. Svitolina’s results during the Asian swing were very poor by her usual standards, opening round defeats in Wuhan and Beijing highlighted her recent misery. Svitolina will be competing in Singapore for the second time, she made her tournament debut last year where she failed to get through the group stage.

Kvitova holds a 7-1 record over Svitolina and has won the last 7 matches between the pair, a surprisingly dominant record given how tough Svitolina usually is to beat. Indeed, Kvitova has dominated Svitolina like no other player has been able to do, 6 of Kvitova’s wins over Svitolina were in straight sets including a 6-4 7-5 win in Doha earlier this year in their most recent match.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Daria Gavrilova, Wuhan R1 Preview

🐉 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, R1 Preview
🇱🇻 (10) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇦🇺 Daria Gavrilova

A first round match-up in Wuhan which features a huge contrast in styles sees the 10th seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on Daria Gavrilova. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that this will be the first career meeting between the pair. Will attack of defence prevail?

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in action during her third-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Jelena Ostapenko and Daria Gavrilova have both been in fairly disappointing form of late, both had poor results during the North American hard court swing and both suffered early exits last week. Ostapenko was beaten at the second round stage in her title defense in Seoul, smashed by Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets. Gavrilova played a couple of marathon matches against the Pliskova sisters in Tokyo, Gavrilova let several leads slip on route to a three 3 set loss to Karolina Pliskova.

This should be an entertaining match between two totally different players. Ostapenko has the firepower whilst Gavrilova has the defensive prowess. Gavrilova will make life hard for Ostapenko if she is off her game but if the Latvian fires she should be too strong.

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Barbora Strycova vs. Alize Cornet, Wuhan R1 Preview

🐉 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, R1 Preview
🇨🇿 Barbora Strycova vs. 🇫🇷 Alize Cornet

Two of the tour’s most entertaining players will go head-to-head at the opening round stage in Wuhan as Barbora Strycova takes on Alize Cornet. Interestingly it is Cornet who has been fairly dominant in this match-up in the past, Cornet holds a 6-2 head-to-head record over Strycova but heads into this match as the slight underdog.

Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic in action during her third-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

The pair bring fairly contrasting form into this opening round match in Wuhan. Strycova was in action last week in Tokyo where she played two tough matches, she beat Anett Kontaveit in an epic 3 set encounter before being beaten by Naomi Osaka in straight sets in what was a pretty competitive match. Conversely, Cornet has not won a match since Cincinnati and suffered a strangely one sided first round loss at the hands of Jennifer Brady in Guangzhou last week.

It was Alize Cornet who won the first 5 career meetings between the two, Strycova has won 2 of their last 3 matches. Overall it is Cornet with al 6-2 head-to-head advantage. Their most recent clash was at Roland Garros last year, Cornet claimed a comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory. Strycova has won the last 2 matches between the pair on a hard court.

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