Bett1Open – Berlin 500 – QF:
(5) Belinda Bencic vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova
An interesting quarter-final match-up from Berlin on Friday sees the fifth seeded Belinda Bencic come up against the always-dangerous Ekaterina Alexandrova. It is Alexandrova who heads into this clash as the slight favourite with the bookmakers having won the last 2 meetings between the pair. However, Bencic loves playing on grass and is more than capable of winning this match-up.
Both players are competing in their first grass court event of the season, both coming off relatively disappointing second round exits at Roland Garros a few weeks ago. Alexandrova progressed to the final 8 in Berlin with a pair of straight set victories over Anna Kalinskaya (6-3 6-2) and the second seeded Elina Svitolina (6-4 7-5). Meanwhile the fifth seeded Bencic was forced to come from a set down to defeat local wild card Jule Niemeier (4-6 6-47-5) before calmly moving past Petra Martic in straight sets (6-3 6-4).
Alexandrova holds a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over Bencic. Bencic defeated the Russian in their first meeting, a 6-4 6-2 win in Indian Wells back in 2019. Alexandrova avenged that loss a few months later with a 6-7 6-2 6-3 victory in Eastbourne, their only previous meeting on a grass court. Most recently Alexandrova defeated Bencic 6-1 7-5 on clay in Stuttgart earlier this year.
I like Bencic in this match-up, I believe she wins more often than not, especially on grass, despite the recent head-to-head results. The Swiss player is looking good this week after working her way through a tricky opening round match and will be keen to avenge her recent losses to Alexandrova. Bencic absorbs and redirects pace better than most, her ability to take the ball early and rush her opponents is especially effective on grass. Alexandrova likes time on the ball to unwind her big, flat shots, Bencic has the skills to counter this on grass. Alexandrova will need to play at a high level to hit through Bencic, possible, but less likely than likely, value with Bencic as a slight outsider.
Prediction: Belinda Bencic to defeat Ekaterina Alexandrova in 3 sets
Tip: Belinda Bencic – 2 units @ $2.17 (Pinnacle)