?? Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, R1 Preview
?? (wc) Catherine Bellis vs ?? Elise Mertens
An interesting first round match in Dubai sees two rising-stars of the WTA Tour collide for the very first time when Catherine Bellis takes on Elise Mertens. Catherine Bellis arrives in Dubai full of confidence after a great run through qualifying to the quarter-finals in Doha last week whilst we know of Mertens heroic run to the semi-finals at the Australian Open last month. Who will emerge victorious in this exciting opening round battle at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships?
Bellis had a wonderful week in Doha. Bellis won a couple of matches to come through the qualifying draw before being 3 more fancied opponents in a row: Daria Kasatkina, Madison Keys and Karolina Pliskova. The American’s straight set victory over Pliskova in the third round was certainly one of the biggest wins of her career, the first top 5 victory of her career as she eliminated the defending champion. Unfortunately for Bellis she was not much of a match for Simona Halep in the quarter-final where she was beaten in straight sets.
Elise Mertens has not been able to replicate her stunning Australian Open form over the last few weeks. Mertens lost a critical match against Kristina Mladenovic in Fed Cup action a week ago and arrives in Dubai fresh off a disappointing week in Doha. It was not a great week for Mertens in Doha, the Belgian came from a set down to beat Timea Babos in the opening round but suffered a disappointing second round loss to Sorana Cirstea where she was beaten in straight sets. Mertens will be hoping to rediscover her form of the Australian summer in Dubai.
It will be interesting to see how this first-time match-up pans out.