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Bertens vs Bencic WTA Stuttgart live streaming, preview and tips - Bertens and Bencic aiming for first Stuttgart quarter-final

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 25 Apr 2019
  • Kiki Bertens vs Belinda Bencic is live from Stuttgart around 3.00pm local time on Thursday (2.00pm BST)
  • Bertens has won their previous two encounters
Kiki Bertens (PA Images)

Kiki Bertens and Belinda Bencic attempt to make their first Porsche Tennis Grand Prix quarter-final when they square off in Stuttgart on Thursday.

(geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

It’s the World No. 7 up against the World No. 20 in the second round of the Premier-level Porsche Tennis Grand Prix as Kiki Bertens targets her third straight win over Dubai champion Belinda Bencic on Thursday in Stuttgart.

Bertens had previously never won a match in Stuttgart, but the powerful Dutchwoman got off the mark in style on Tuesday, sprinting past German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam in straight sets, prevailing 7-3 6-2. Bertens had lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Karolina Pliskova in her previous two visits to Stuttgart, but she was not to be denied upon her return for a third time, coming into the tournament on the back of an outstanding last 12 months that saw her transform from a clay specialist to an all-surface superstar. However, interestingly, Bertens revealed after her win that the clay in Stuttgart has more of a grass-court feel to it - in terms of slippery and finding it tough to keep your footing at times when scurrying across the baseline.

“I’ve never won a match here, and I had a lot of break points that I didn’t take,” Bertens said. “I was just really happy that I could finish it in two.
“You think it is clay you’re playing on but it’s not really,” Bertens added. “It’s like really slippery. It’s tough to move here. I think normally I move pretty good on clay and I think that’s the same with Simona [Halep], but here you kind of not have that grip. When you’re standing you’re kind of sliding around so you never have like a really good grip.
“I think also that the really aggressive players, they play really well here. You see Pliskova last year she won the tournament. So, I think that’s the key here to play aggressive. That’s what I tried but I still need to improve a little bit.”

Perhaps Bertens enjoying so much success on other surfaces over the last year will contribute to a deep run in Stuttgart for the first time? Those performances from halfway through the 2018 season and up until the present have included Bertens making the Wimbledon quarter-finals, winning the biggest title of her career at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, capturing another hardcourt title in Seoul and reaching the semi-finals of the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore, while this season she took home the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on indoor hardcourts.

However, despite her success on grass and hardcourt, Bertens will be relishing a return to clay, where she was a French Open semi-finalist back in 2016, a runner-up at the Premier Mandatory Mutua Madrid Open last year, while she’s also won five clay-court titles throughout her career. Can she make it six this week in Stuttgart?


Belinda Bencic is her next opponent. The Swiss hadn’t won a match in Stuttgart since making the second round back in 2015, but she snapped her drought with a dominant win of her own over a qualifier, taking out Mandy Minella by a 6-2 6-4 scoreline in 75 minutes. In fact, due to her injury issues over the last few years, that was just Bencic’s second win on European clay since 2015, with the Swiss also losing in the opening round of Lugano to Antonia Lottner a couple of weeks ago - although, she did make the quarter-finals on the green clay of Charleston at the start of the month.

A former World No. 7 before dropping out of the top 300 a couple of years ago due to those aforementioned multiple 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 Angelique Kerber. In total, half of her 12-match winning streak was over top 10 players and propelled Bencic back inside the top 20, but her form has dried up in recent times as she’s bowed out in the opening round of Miami and Lugano.

Can Bencic get back to winning ways in Stuttgart? She’s got a tough match-up on her hands, with Bertens winning their two previous encounters in Indian Wells in 2017 and Wuhan last year. Both those matches were on hardcourt, so you’d think on clay, that swings the pendulum even further in Bertens’ corner. It’s not traditional clay as Bertens mentions, but I think all things considered, the Dutchwoman should be considered the favourite on Thursday.


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Bertens vs Bencic WTA Stuttgart live streaming, preview and tips - Bertens and Bencic aiming for first Stuttgart quarter-final

Kiki Bertens and Belinda Bencic attempt to make their first Porsche Tennis Grand Prix quarter-final when they square off in Stuttgart on Thursday.

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