WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
?? (5) Sloane Stephens vs. ?? (8) Kiki Bertens
Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens both made impressive winning starts in their Singapore debuts. As a result Stephens and Bertens now have a chance to almost certainly book a place in the semi-finals with a victory here. Adding to the intrigue is that this will be the first time Stephens and Bertens have gone head-to-head for over 5 years and will be just their second career meeting.
Sloane Stephens arrived in Singapore arguably in the worst form of all 8 of the participants. Nevertheless, Sloane has shown that she almost always drastically improves her level for big events and that was the case in her WTA Finals debut. Stephens took down reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka 7-5 4-6 6-1. Stephens successfully frustrated Osaka with her mix of attack and defense, Stephens broke the Osaka serve on 7 occasions from a whopping 19 break points chances. The reasonably slow conditions in Singapore seemingly suit the game of Stephens very nicely.
Kiki Bertens made another huge statement in her first ever match at the WTA Finals. Bertens came from a set and a break down to defeat Angelique Kerber 1-6 6-3 6-4. Bertens has now won 11 matches against top 10 opponents since Madrid this year. Bertens has made a habit of winning ugly, that was certainly the case here in what was a fairly messy deciding set with breaks of serve galore. Bertens served 12 double faults and had a first serve percentage of just 53% yet still managed to beat one of the best returners of serve on tour. Bertens will probably need to step it up if she is to claim her first ever win over Sloane Stephens.
It was Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair. A 4-6 6-3 6-2 win way back in 2013 in Rome. Much has changed since then, but another close match is to be expected.