???? WTA Finals – Shenzhen RR preview
?? (6) Petra Kvitova vs. ?? (7) Belinda Bencic
Petra Kvitova and Belinda Bencic will renew hostilities when they do battle in a crucial match from the red group at the WTA Finals Shenzhen on Tuesday night. Kvitova and Bencic were both defeated in their opening group stage matches meaning the loser of this match is highly unlikely to progress to the semi-finals, whilst the winner will have a fighting chance.
Kvitova is making her 7th appearance at the WTA Finals, the 2011 champion suffered a brutal loss in her opening match in Shenzhen succumbing to Naomi Osaka 6-7 6-4 4-6 despite playing a fairly good match. Kvitova battled from a set down in the second set to force a decider but was unable to get the job done in the decider in a match that followed a strikingly similar pattern to the Australian Open final earlier this year.
Belinda Bencic was also unable to get the job done in her opening match of the tournament. Bencic made a bright start to her WTA Finals debut as she won a tight opening set over Ash Barty but was eventually overrun by the world number 1, succumbing 7-5 1-6 2-6. Bencic will be disappointed with how noncompetitive she was in the final 2 sets and eager to rebound against Kvitova with a win.
Kvitova holds a fairly dominant 4-1 head-to-head record over Bencic. The pair have already gone to battle on 3 previous occasions in 2019, Kvitova defeated Bencic 6-1 6-4 at the Australian Open before Bencic defeated Kvitova for the first time in the Dubai final, a 6-3 1-6 6-2 win. The most recent match between the pair took place in Beijing about a month ago, Kvitova won 6-3 6-3.
I’m going to side with Bencic here despite Kvitova having had the better of this match-up. Kvitova is very much a momentum player, unfortunately for Kvitova that does not bode well for her here given she hasn’t won a match in almost a month. Bencic is battle-hardened and will make life tough for Kvitova on a slow, low bouncing surface. The surface will allow Bencic to get into more rallies where her greater consistency should give her the edge against a somewhat jaded Kvitova.