Kiki Bertens vs. Sara Errani, Roland Garros R2 Preview

??? Roland Garros, R2 preview + prediction:
?? (5) Kiki Bertens vs. ?? (Q) Sara Errani

An interesting second round match-up from Roland Garros sees the 5th seeded Kiki Bertens come up against a resurgent Sara Errani. Bertens has struggled in recent times to find the form that has seen her be one of the best performers on clay over the last few years, the world number 8 will need to raise her level for this match against an opponent that is on a roll.

Kiki Bertens arrived in Paris under an injury cloud after retiring from her opening round match in Strasbourg last week. The signs weren’t good for Bertens in her Roland Garros opener, but she managed to overcome a slow start to get the better of Katarina Zavatska 2-6 6-2 6-0, her first win since the tour restart. Bertens achieved her greatest result at a major in 2016 when she reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros.

Sara Errani confirmed a second round showdown with the 5th seeded Bertens thanks to a dominant 6-2 6-1 victory over Monica Puig, the Italian’s first main daw victory at a Grand Slam since Roland Garros 2017. The 2012 Roland Garros runner-up is yet to drop a set all tournament having also won 3 straight set matches over Ekaterine Gorgodze, Eva Guerrero Alvarez and Tereza Martincova to secure her passage through the qualifying draw.

Errani holds a 5-0 head-to-head record over Bertens, 2 of those victories came via retirement. The most recent match between the pair took place at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Errani won 4-6 6-4 6-3. Much has changed since their last meeting, Bertens is now one of the top players in the world and will be a strong favourite to claim her first victory over the Italian when they meet in Paris.

I’m going to give Bertens the benefit of the doubt here. Bertens hasn’t been convincing at all over the last few weeks but she should be able to find a level high enough to get the better of Errani. With a win finally under her belt, I expect Bertens to improve. Bertens should be too strong, Errani hasn’t defeated a player of the Dutchwoman’s calibre in a very long time. Errani’s dodgy serve is still her major weakness, a weakness Bertens should be smart enough to exploit. Bertens has the controlled aggression to outplay Errani from the baseline.

Prediction: Kiki Bertens to defeat Sara Errani in 2 sets

Kiki Bertens vs. Jelena Ostapenko, Strasbourg R2 Preview

??? Internationaux de Strasbourg – R2 preview + prediction
?? (3) Kiki Bertens vs. ?? Jelena Ostapenko

Kiki Bertens begins her Strasbourg campaign on Wednesday with a potentially dangerous second round clash against Jelena Ostapenko. Kiki Bertens has been one of the top performers on clay over the last few years, amassing a 47/16 win/loss record on clay since 2017. However, Bertens is yet to win a clay court match in 2020 and will be keen to gather some winning momentum before heading to Roland Garros next week.

Bertens arrives in Strasbourg fresh from a disappointing early exit in Rome. Bertens received a bye through the opening round in Rome before stumbling to Polona Hercog in straight sets in what was the Dutchwoman’s first competitive match since the tour restart. Bertens is competing in Strasbourg for the first time this week, the third seed received an opening round after she took the top seeds spot at the top of the draw after a withdrawal.

Jelena Ostapenko is a former Roland Garros champion but managed to record negative win/loss records on clay over the last couple of years. Ostapenko also played her first competitive match since the tour restart last week in Rome where she suffered a straight set loss to Magda Linette in the opening round. Ostapenko recorded a much needed victory as she defeated Lauren Davis 6-2 6-3 to kick-start her Strasbourg campaign.

Bertens holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Ostapenko and has won both of their tour level meetings. The most recent match between the pair took place in Madrid last year, Bertens won 6-4 6-3.

I’ll back Bertens to ignite her clay court season with a victory over Ostapenko. Bertens is undoubtedly one of the strongest players on tour on a clay court, Ostapenko is a Roland Garros champion but clay is her least dangerous surface and she remains incredibly inconsistent and unreliable. Bertens has a far greater serve, more controlled power and a more versatile game, a much better player on this surface, expect Bertens to be too solid for Ostapenko.

Prediction: Kiki Bertens to defeat Jelena Ostapenko in 2 sets

Kiki Bertens vs. Anastasija Sevastova, bett1 ACES Preview

bett1 ACES Berlin Exhibition
Third Place Playoff ?? ?
?? (2) Kiki Bertens vs. ?? Anastasija Sevastova

Kiki Bertens and Anastasija Sevastova will go head-to-head at the third-place playoff stage of the bett1 ACES Exhibition event in Berlin.

Bertens received a bye through the opening round before being comfortably beaten by Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-2. This is the first time Bertens has been in competitive action since late February when the official WTA tour has halted. Bertens will be keen to avoid a winless tournament with the WTA tour resumption just around the corner.

Anastasija Sevastova is also playing in her first competitive event since the WTA tour shutdown. Sevastova started her Berlin campaign with a 6-3 4-3 win via retirement over Julia Goerges. Sevastova was unable to make her way to the final as she was defeated by the top seeded Elina Svitolina 7-6 6-3.

Kiki Bertens holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Anastasija Sevastova. Bertens has won the last couple of matches between the pair, both on clay in Madrid, most recently Bertens won 6-1 6-2 in 2019.

This is a tough match to predict with very little recent form to go off and no previous history between the pair on a grass court. I’ll give the slight edge to Sevastova, Sevastova is probably slightly more suited to the surface and has played 2 matches this week to get used to the conditions.

Prediction: Anastasija Sevastova to defeat Kiki Bertens in 3 sets

Kiki Bertens vs. Pauline Parmentier, Roland Garros R1 Preview

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?? (4) Kiki Bertens vs. ?? Pauline Parmentier

Kiki Bertens is one of the in form players heading into Roland Garros 2019, the newly crowned member of the top 5 begins her Paris campaign against Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier. Bertens won the biggest tile of her career in Madrid a few weeks ago and is arguably the second favourite behind Simona Halep heading into this event, the expectations have never been higher for Bertens heading into a major.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands during practice at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Kiki Bertens has proven herself in Paris before, a former semi-finalist, Bertens will be hoping to go one step further in 2019 to reach her first Grand Slam final. Bertens is the form player on tour on the red dirt, Bertens reached the semi-finals in Stuttgart, won Madrid and reached the semi-finals in Rome all in the last month and a bit. Clay has always been the Dutchwoman’s best surface, she is extremely tough to break down due to her very complete game on the surface.

Pauline Parmentier also enjoys a relatively good record in Paris. Parmentier’s home slam has always been her most successful and she has enjoyed some rare success at this level in recent years with a couple of third round appearances. However, Parmentier’s recent form is not flash, she has lost 5 of her 6 matches in the lead-up to Paris on clay. The good news for Parmentier is her strong record against Bertens.

Parmentier has surprisingly won all 3 of the previous matches between the pair. The most recent match between the two took place in Monterrey back in 2016, Parmentier won that match in 3 sets. Bertens has made gigantic improvements since their last match and this will be their first career meeting on clay.

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Kiki Bertens vs. Amanda Anisimova, Rome R2 Preview

#IBI19 Rome R2 Preview
?? (6) Kiki Bertens vs. ?? (LL) Amanda Anisimova

Kiki Bertens begins her Rome campaign with a second round clash against Amanda Anisimova. Bertens arrives in Rome on a high having won the title in Madrid last week and is looming as one of the favourites heading into the second Grand Slam of the year. Bertens will be keen to continue her strong form in Rome and enters this match as a clear favourite.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in action during her semi-final match at the 2019 Mutua Madrid Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament on route to winning the title. 

Kiki Bertens is the form player on tour at the moment having won the biggest title of her career at the Mutua Madrid Open last week which meant she climbed to a career high ranking of number 4 in the world. Bertens won the title in Madrid in style as she went through the tournament without dropping a set, the first player to ever achieve that feat. Bertens beat quality players such as Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep on route to the title. Clay has always been Bertens’ best surface and suddenly she is looming as a genuine contender to win Roland Garros in a few weeks’ time, she could perhaps even be the favourite.

Unlike Bertens, clay is not a surface Anisimova is comfortable on. Anisimova did win her first career title on the red dirt in Bogota last month but I’m not convinced by her game on this surface. Anisimova suffered a shock loss in the opening round of qualifying in Madrid to Marta Kostyuk and stumbled at the final qualifying stage in Rome to Kristina Mladenovic but received a main draw wild card. Anisimova went on to defeat Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-3 6-3 in the opening round to set up a clash with Bertens.

This will be the first career meeting between Bertens and Anisimova.

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Kiki Bertens vs. Garbine Muguruza, Indian Wells R4 Preview

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?? (7) Kiki Bertens vs. ?? (20) Garbine Muguruza

An intriguing fourth round clash from the Californian desert sees the 7th seeded Kiki Bertens take on the 20th seeded Garbine Muguruza. This promises to be an exciting contest between two powerful opponents who are both well suited to the conditions in Indian Wells. Can Muguruza recapture her top form to take down Bertens?

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Kiki Bertens is continuing to impress and continuing to improve. Bertens is now on the verge of cracking into the world’s top 5 for the first time, a few more wins in Indian Wells would guarantee that impressive achievement. Bertens cruised through her opening round match of the event, beating Magda Linette 6-4 6-1 after receiving a bye through the first round. Bertens faced and overcame a far greater test in the third round against Johanna Konta, Bertens saved several set points in a tight opening set before claiming a hard-fought 7-6 6-4 victory.

Garbine Muguruza advanced to the fourth round in Indian Wells thanks to her first victory over a top 10 opponent in 12 months, albeit via retirement. Muguruza struck gold as she was handed victory as Serena Williams retired from their third round clash as Muguruza led 6-3 1-0 having won 7 games in a row. Muguruza hasn’t had to play much tennis this week having easily defeated Lauren Davis 6-1 6-3 in the second round after receiving a bye through the opening round. We will get a better indication as to where Muguruza is at right now when she takes on Bertens.

Bertens holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Muguruza, however all of those victories for Bertens were over 5 years ago outside of the main tour. The only tour level meeting between the pair was last year in Sydney, Muguruza won 6-3 7-6. Bertens has been on a meteoric rise since their last meeting whilst Muguruza has consistently underachieved.

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Kiki Bertens vs. Donna Vekic, Brisbane R2 Preview

Brisbane International R2, Match Preview
?? (6) Kiki Bertens vs. ?? Donna Vekic

Kiki Bertens and Donna Vekic will go head-to-head for the fourth time with a spot in the Brisbane International quarter-finals up for grabs. Vekic heads into this match with a 2-1 record over Bertens but it is Bertens who heads into this match as the favourite and rightfully so.

Kiki Bertens was dealt a very tough opening round draw in Brisbane against the 12th ranked Elise Mertens, the highest unseeded player in the field. The match was predictably very tight, it was Bertens who fought through with a 6-2 6-7 6-4 victory. Bertens served particularly well and showcased how damaging her forehand can be.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Brisbane International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Donna Vekic made a cracking start to her 2019 campaign with a comprehensive 6-1 6-2 drubbing of Magdalena Rybarikova. Vekic’s superior firepower saw her completely dominate proceedings against Rybarikova, Vekic successfully got Rybarikova on the back foot on a consistent basis and didn’t allow Rybarikova to play her game.

Vekic will certainly face a tougher test against Bertens in the next round, can the young Croatian overcome that challenge?

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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?

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Elina Svitolina vs. Kiki Bertens, Singapore SF Preview

?? WTA Finals, Singapore SF #1 Preview
?? (6) Elina Svitolina vs. ?? (8) Kiki Bertens

Saturday’s first semi-final in Singapore sees Elina Svitolina take on Kiki Bertens. This is a huge opportunity for both players, both will be competing at the semi-final stage at the WTA Finals for the first time from limited experience at the event. Svitolina was the most impressive player in the white group, winning all 3 of her matches whilst Bertens continues to defy the odds in 2018. Svitolina will enter this match as the favourite but Bertens fancies an upset, she has secured the most top 10 wins of any player in 2018, can she do it again here?

Elina Svitolina’s route to the semi-finals:

(W) vs. Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-3
(W) vs. Karolina Pliskova 6-3 2-6 6-3
(W) vs. Caroline Wozniacki 5-7 7-5 6-3

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine celebrates qualifying for the semifinal stage of the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina has been back to her fighting best in Singapore this week, playing with the perfect mix aggression and defense. Svitolina’s form was poor heading into Singapore but she has been the most impressive player throughout the group stage. Svitolina won all 3 of her matches in the white group including a couple of tough 3 set victories. Svitolina started her second consecutive Singapore campaign with a reasonably comfortable straight set win over Petra Kvitova before battling past Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki in 3 sets to reach the final 4 at the WTA Finals for the first time. Svitolina’s win over Wozniacki was particularly impressive, it was Svitolina who came out on top in the critical second set, a gutsy effort to outlast a desperate Wozniacki. Svitolina has been fired up all tournament, clearly desperate to reverse her form slump and end the year on a high.

Kiki Bertens’ route to the semi-finals:

(W) vs. Angelique Kerber 1-6 6-3 6-4
(L) vs. Sloane Stephens 6-7 6-2 3-6
(W) vs. Naomi Osaka 6-3 RET.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in action during her third match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Kiki Bertens is only playing in Singapore because of the late withdrawal of Simona Halep. Bertens is certainly making the most of this opportunity by reaching the final 4 in her WTA Finals debut. Bertens started the event with a great comeback win against Angelique Kerber, Bertens came from 1-6 0-2 down to beat Kerber before succumbing to Sloane Stephens in a tight 3 set match. Bertens secured her spot in the semi-finals with a victory via retirement over Naomi Osaka, another fortunate break for Bertens. Bertens will face her biggest test yet against Svitolina in the semi-finals.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Svitolina defeated Bertens in 3 sets in Zhuhai in 2016 whilst more recently Bertens claimed a 6-4 6-3 win at the quarter-final stage in Cincinnati earlier this year. This is an interesting match-up because of the contrast in styles, the type of match-up that seemingly lends itself to producing close matches.

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Naomi Osaka vs. Kiki Bertens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red group match preview
?? (3) Naomi Osaka vs. ?? (8) Kiki Bertens

Naomi Osaka entered the WTA Finals as the favourite to win the title but is in big danger of succumbing at the group stage after losing her first couple of matches in Singapore. Despite the losses, Osaka still has a chance to reach the semi-finals if she can beat Kiki Bertens on Friday, plus she will need to rely on results to fall her way in the other match of the day. Bertens has got a win to her name this week but she also needs to win this match to advance to the semi-finals. Who will claim the all-important victory?

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

Naomi Osaka has suffered two fairly similar loses to start her Singapore campaign. Osaka was beaten by Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber in 3 sets, on both occasions she lost the first set before hitting back in the second but ultimately faltering in the decider. Osaka has not been as sharp as we have seen in previous months, making far more unforced errors from the baseline and not serving at her best. Perhaps the pressure has got to Osaka as she has looked quite fragile on court at times this week. Osaka is a Grand Slam champion for a reason so don’t dismiss a response from her in the final group stage match.

Kiki Bertens was the last to confirm her place in Singapore but she has certainly not looked like the worst player in the field. Bertens started the tournament with a big 3 set win over Angelique Kerber from a set and 0-2 down. It was a great start for Bertens in her debut at the WTA finals but she could not get over the line in her next match against Sloane Stephens where she let an early lead slip in the deciding set. Bertens essentially has nothing to lose this week, of all the players in the draw she realistically has the least pressure to deal with as it is a bonus for her to just be competing at this event.

It was Osaka who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-4 6-2 win in Acapulco in 2016. Both players have made significant improvements since that meeting so it will be interesting to see how this match-up unfolds on this occasion.

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