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Ana Konjuh v Natalia Vikhlyantseva WTA Ricoh Open tennis tips, preview, predictions, live stream

Neil Roarty in WTA Tour 16 Jun 2017
  • Ana Konjuh and Natalia Vikhlyantseva meet in the semi-finals of the Ricoh Open on Saturday
  • Konjuh is the favourite to beat her fellow youngster and make her first WTA Final of 2017
  • You can watch & bet on Ana Konjuh v Natalia Vikhlyantseva live at bet365>livestreaming>tennis

Ana Konjuh v Natalia Vikhlyantseva WTA Ricoh Open live stream preview, predictions & betting tips for the WTA s'Hertogenbosch Open semi-final. Teenager Ana Konjuh will be looking to make her third WTA Final at the expense of fellow youngster Natalia Vikhlyantseva.



When the draw for the WTA Ricoh Open was released there would have been few that would have expected Ana Konjuh and Natalia Vikhlyantseva to be facing off for a place in the final. The pair may be rising stars on the WTA but both were unfancied, with the likes of Dominika Cibulkova and Kiki Bertens far more likely semi-finalists in the first major grass court tournament of the season.

However, the change of courts after the French Open, plus perhaps a desire and fighting spirit shown by the youngsters that was perhaps lacking in their more established elders, has meant that the two outsiders are in the final four and one of them will line-up against either Anna Kontaveit or Lesia Tsurenko in the final.

Konjuh, the fifth seed in s'Hertogenbosch, is the favourite to qualify for Sunday's final and that is understandable as, despite the fact that she is the younger of the pair, the Croatian has more WTA pedigree than her opponent. The 19-year-old already has a Tour level win - on grass in Nottingham in 2015 - and so will be far less effected by nerves than Vikhlyantseva. She showed her mental strength when coming through an epic 22 point final set tie-break with Evginy Rodinova in the quarter-finals and that will serve her very well in one of the biggest matches of her fledgling career. She can also call on the experience of a quarter-final appearance at last year's US Open and a couple of Junior Grand Slam titles, which puts her in a far better position than her Russian opponent.

Vikhlyantseva, by contrast, hasn't experienced anything like this in her career. The Russian has only played two Grand Slam events, this year's Australian Open and Roland Garros, and has only one victory at that level. She had, in fact, only ever played six WTA matches before this season and even in 2017 her record on all surfaces is only 7-7. That's not terrible of course but you feel that this is more of a stepping stone on her development than a sign that she has arrived at the top table, and perhaps she'll be happy enough with her week even if she loses to Konjuh.

The world number 77's path to the semi-finals has, however, been smoother than her opponent's. Vikhlyantseva was a comfortable winner against Cornelia Lister in the first round and then essentially out-classed Andrea Petkovic in the last 16. The German didn't have an answer to the powerful hitting of the 20-year-old and only managed to force a third set due to Vikhlyantseva's inability to close out the match. The Russian regrouped though and took the decider 6-2 before blitzing home hope Arantxa Rus in the quarters. That 6-2, 6-3 win shouldn't be sniffed at, Rus had been in fine form on grass this year and to win in such decisive style says a lot about Vikhlyantseva. She came through that one well but the greater experience of Konjuh, who has proven she can handle these occasions, could be just a little too much for her in what should be a close match between two players who may be competing at this level for years to come.

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Ana Konjuh v Natalia Vikhlyantseva WTA Ricoh Open tennis tips, preview, predictions, live stream

Ana Konjuh v Natalia Vikhlyantseva WTA Ricoh Open live stream preview, predictions & betting tips for the WTA s'Hertogenbosch Open semi-final. Teenager Ana Konjuh will be looking to make her third WTA Final at the expense of fellow youngster Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

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