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Bencic vs Kenin WTA Mallorca live streaming, preview and tips - Bencic and Kenin target second WTA title of 2019

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 23 Jun 2019
  • Belinda Bencic vs Sofia Kenin is live from Mallorca at 4.30pm local time on Sunday (3.30pm BST)
  • It's the first career meeting between the pair
Belinda Bencic (PA Images)

Belinda Bencic and Sofia Kenin clash for the first time as the young guns square off for the Mallorca Open title on Sunday.

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Both Belinda Bencic and Sofia Kenin are aiming to win their second WTA title of the season when they clash for the Mallorca Open silverware on Sunday.

On the verge of returning to the top 10 after a superb and resurgent season, Bencic has put together another stellar week in Mallorca, starting her campaign with a straight sets dispatch of Rebecca Peterson and benefiting from a retirement in the second round against Shelby Rogers before easing past French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-2 and claiming the eighth top 10 win of 2019 as she came from a set down to conquer reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber by a 2-6 7-6(2) 6-4 scoreline to make her third grass-court final.

“It means a lot to me to be in the final, I thought I fought very hard today,” Bencic told said after the match. “I definitely tried to give my best today and fought until the end, so I’m so happy to be in the final.”

A former World No. 7 before dropping out of the top 300 a couple of years ago due to a number of injury problems, Bencic is back playing some of her best tennis this season. The Swiss, who is still just 22 years of age, put together an incredible 12-match winning streak between February and March, helping Switzerland to a Fed Cup victory before going on a magical run at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, conquering four top 10 players on the trot, including Aryna Sabalenka, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova in the final. Bencic went on to reach the semi-finals of the Premier Mandatory BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells at her next tournament, claiming the scalp of World No. 1 and defending champion Naomi Osaka in the fourth round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals before she was eventually stopped by Kerber. In total, half of her 12-match winning streak was over top 10 players and propelled Bencic back inside the top 20, while she’s since risen to a current mark of No. 13 after once again beating Osaka on her way to the Madrid semi-finals.

A champion on the grass of Eastbourne in 2015 and a runner-up in s-Hertogenbosch - along with reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon last year - Bencic is a smooth operator on the lawns. Can she pick up a second title on the surface in Mallorca on Sunday?

Sofia Kenin stands in her way. The 20-year-old American has been making impressive progress up the rankings over the last couple of years, making her first tour-level semi-final in Mallorca 12 months ago - and now, she’s gone one step further at the tournament, scoring wins over Kirsten Flipkens, Ons Jabeur and Elise Mertens before taking out Anastasija Sevastova - who had made the final in Mallorca the last three years - by a 6-4 4-6 6-2 scoreline to advance into her third final of 2019 and first grass-court title match.

Kenin also made the semi-finals of Quebec City last year and represented USA in the Fed Cup final to end 2018 just outside the world’s top 50, but she’s taken her game to another level this season, winning her maiden WTA title in Hobart and pushing Simona Halep all the way at the Australian Open, before going on to quickly make her second WTA final in Acapulco, beating Victoria Azarenka and Bianca Andreescu along the way, but this time she went down to Wang Yafan in the title match. Kenin would have been disappointed with early exits in Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid, but to be fair, she lost to Elina Svitolina, Andreescu and Petra Kvitova in those tournaments, while in three of her last four tournaments, the American has been knocked out by top 10 players, which proves it’s taking the very best to beat her these days. Kenin is also coming off the biggest win of her career at the French Open as she took out Serena Williams to make the fourth round, where she took a set off eventual champion Ash Barty.

This will be the first meeting between the pair and it promises to be a brilliant encounter. Both players don’t have traditional grass-court games per say, but Bencic and Kenin are among the best competitors on tour and have each put together eye-catching seasons to date. I’d say Bencic is the more aggressive player of the pair - she moves very quickly along the baseline and isn’t afraid to change direction and go up the lines, while Kenin predominantly likes to counterpunch and win points on the back of her relentless intensity. It should be close, but I’m leaning on the side of Bencic to take home a second grass-court title.

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Bencic vs Kenin WTA Mallorca live streaming, preview and tips - Bencic and Kenin target second WTA title of 2019

Belinda Bencic and Sofia Kenin clash for the first time as the young guns square off for the Mallorca Open title on Sunday.

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