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
??? Internationaux de Strasbourg – R2 preview + prediction ?? (7) Ekaterina Alexandrova vs. ?? Katerina Siniakova
The 7th seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova continues her Strasbourg campaign on Wednesday with a second round match-up with the Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova. This will be the 6th career meeting between the pair, Alexandrova heads into this clash with a slender 3-2 head-to-head advantage over Siniakova.
Ekaterina Alexandrova stormed through the opening round in Strasbourg, easing past Storm Sander 6-1 6-0. Siniakova was forced to work much harder for her opening round victory over a much tougher opponent as she secured a gutsy 4-6 7-6 6-1 victory over Bernarda Pera.
Alexandrova holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Siniakova. The most recent meeting between the pair took place at the opening round stage in Shenzhen earlier this year, it was Alexandrova who claimed a 6-4 6-4 victory. It was Siniakova who won their most recent match on a clay court, a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory in Prague in 2018.
I’m going to side with Siniakova here. I think Siniakova is better suited to clay, especially in this match-up. Alexandrova’s powerful, somewhat one-dimensional playing style isn’t well suited to the red clay, her form isn’t great either, Siniakova should be good enough to take advantage. Siniakova’s strong performance against Kerber last week in Rome, coupled with her impressive comeback win over Pera in the opening round in Strasbourg is enough to suggest she is playing well enough to win this one.
Prediction: Katerina Siniakova to defeat Ekaterina Alexandrova in 3 sets
? Sydney International, R1 Preview ?? (4) Sloane Stephens vs. ?? (Q) Ekaterina Alexandrova
Sloane Stephens continues her search for a much needed win in Australia when she takes on Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova in the opening round of the Sydney International. Sloane Stephens has not won a match in Australia since a first round win in Hobart way back in 2015, she would like to change that in Sydney before heading into the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne next week.
Stephens started her 2019 campaign with a disappointing straight set loss to Johanna Konta in Brisbane last week. Stephens looked very rusty in Brisbane last week, she looked sluggish and uninspired. Stephens has been in Sydney for a decent amount of time thanks to her early round exit in Brisbane, it will be interesting to see what type of level she bring to this match, from the outside it seems like an important one for her.
Ekaterina Alexandrova has made a decent start to the season. Alexandrova started her season in Shenzhen last week where she beat Dalila Jakupovic in straight sets before succumbing to the eventual champion: Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. Alexandrova made her way through the qualifying draw in Sydney with ease, the Russian beat Stefanie Voegele in straight sets before benefiting from the retirement of Johanna Konta early in their match.
Alexandrova is a dangerous opponent on her day, can the talented young Russian take down the 4th seed?
To view my analysis / prediction of this match: Click here