?? 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 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 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.