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 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.