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Bertens vs Bonaventure WTA St. Petersburg live streaming, preview and tips - Bertens starts St. Petersburg title quest against Belgian qualifier

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 31 Jan 2019
  • Kiki Bertens vs Ysaline Bonaventure is live from St. Petersburg at 6.30pm local time on Thursday (3.30pm GMT)
  • This will be the first tour-level meeting between the pair
Kiki Bertens (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)

World No. 8 Kiki Bertens begins her St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy campaign on Thursday when she faces Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure in the second round.

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Kiki Bertens targets her first win in three appearances at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on Thursday against qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure as both women aim for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Coming into this year on the back of a career-best season in 2018, Bertens wasn’t able to make a big impact in January down under, although her performances were solid if unspectacular. The Dutchwoman began 2019 with a second round showing in Brisbane, losing a tight three-setter to Donna Vekic, and followed that up with a semi-final run to the Sydney International, once again falling in a close three-set contest to eventual runner-up Ashleigh Barty. Bertens scored a comfortable 6-3 6-3 win over Alison Riske in the opening round of the Australian Open, but she couldn’t go on a deep run in her first major as a top 10 seed, going down in another three-setter in the second round, this time against eventual quarter-finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

While Bertens would have obviously wanted to register more wins in Australia, she was in with a chance of winning all of the matches she lost, so it’s not as if she’s completely fallen off to begin 2019.

However, at the same time, it will be interesting to see how Bertens deals with the added pressure of defending everything she achieved in 2018 as the year goes on. Bertens once again shone on clay, winning the title in Charleston and finishing runner-up at the Premier Mandatory Mutua Madrid Open, but it was her improvement on hardcourts and grass that ultimately propelled her into the upper echelons of the sport. The 27-year-old beat Karolina Pliskova and Venus Williams to make the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and continued her fine form into the North American summer on hardcourt, defeating Petra Kvitova and Pliskova to make the quarter-finals of Montreal before taking out Kvitova, Carolin Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina to advance into the Western & Southern Open final in Cincinnati, where she captured the biggest title of her career with a superb comeback win over World No. 1 Simona Halep.

Bertens went on to capture the hardcourt title in Seoul and qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore for the first time, toppling Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka to reach the semi-finals, where she was edged by eventual champion Elina Svitolina in three sets. With most of her success coming in the last half of 2018, it’s important that Bertens accumulate some ranking points over the first half of 2019 to ease some of the pressure - can she start with a bang in St. Petersburg on Thursday?

Ysaline Bonaventure (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)
While Bertens has established herself as a top-level competitor on the WTA Tour, Ysaline Bonaventure is still trying to make that jump into the world’s top 100 after spending her career on the second-tier ITF circuit. Bonaventure has secured 10 titles on the ITF circuit and won two WTA doubles titles throughout her career, but she hasn’t been able to make that next step and improve her game enough to become a genuine tour-level player, hitting a career-high ranking of No. 116 midway through 2018.


But there are signs Bonaventure is heading in the right direction. Currently ranked No. 148 in the world, the Belgian won her first matches on the WTA Tour last year - four in fact, with her highlight coming in Budapest when she made the quarter-finals with wins over Sara Sorribes Tormo and Donna Vekic before going down to Mona Barthel. Bonaventure also beat Yulia Putintseva to reach the second round in Auckland and Saisai Zheng to make the same stage in Washington D.C., and she’s continued her gradual progress into 2019, qualifying for a Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open, beating Naomi Broady, Lizette Cabrera and Richel Hogenkamp before losing in three sets to Saschia Vickery in the first round of the main draw.

Bonaventure went on to lose in the second round of the $60k ITF tournament in Andrezieux-Boutheon last week, but she’s put together a great week so far in St. Petersburg, beating the likes of Viktoria Kuzmova and Katie Boulter to qualify for the main draw before earning arguably the biggest win of her career over Katerina Siniakova in the first round, 6-4 7-6(3).

Bertens and Bonaventure have played twice before, but both of those meetings came on clay in 2015 on the ITF circuit, with Bertens winning each time. The Dutchwoman has since progressed rapidly into the top 10, while Bonaventure has been left behind. The 24-year-old qualifier has nothing to lose, has already won four matches this week and she could perhaps catch Bertens cold as she prepares for her first match of the tournament. In saying that, Bertens didn’t play too poorly in Australia and this is a match you’d expect her to win if she wants to remain near the top of the game in 2019.


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Bertens vs Bonaventure WTA St. Petersburg live streaming, preview and tips - Bertens starts St. Petersburg title quest against Belgian qualifier

World No. 8 Kiki Bertens begins her St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy campaign on Thursday when she faces Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure in the second round.

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