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Bertens vs Larsson WTA s-Hertogenbosch Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Bertens opens s-Hertogenbosch bid against struggling Larsson

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 11 Jun 2019
  • Kiki Bertens vs Johanna Larsson is live from s-Hertogenbosch on Tuesday from 2:30pm local time/ 1:30pm BST
  • Bertens and Larsson have split their two previous meetings
Kiki Bertens (PA Sport)

After her unfortunate second round retirement from the French Open, world No. 4, Kiki Bertens returns to action on Tuesday when she takes on Swede, Johanna Larsson in the first round of the Libema Open in s-Hertogenbosch.

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Bertens had arrived Roland Garros on the back of a brilliant clay court season which had yielded a maiden Premier Mandatory title at the Madrid Open, but her French Open bid ended in bitter disappointment, as the Dutchwoman was forced to retire from her second round meeting with Viktoria Kuzmova due to illness. Bertens said she starting feeling sick in the morning of the match, and had considered not taking to the court, but she barely lasted half a set before calling the doctor, and subsequently quitting.

Despite the disappointment of Roland Garros, it has been another fine season for Bertens, who arrived Paris with a shot at being No. 1 in the world. She has two titles this year, from St. Petersburg and that stunning Madrid success, where she became the first woman to win the title without dropping a set. It wasn’t as if she had a cakewalk of a draw- far from it. Bertens took out four Grand Slam champions- Jelena Ostapenko, Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep- the latter trio doubling as top-ten players- en route the title. That performance in particular made many believe that the 27-year-old was ready to win her first major title in Paris, but it was not quite meant to be.

Beyond her titles in St. Petersburg and Madrid, Bertens, who is 27-11 for the season, has also made semi-finals in Sydney, Stuttgart and Rome, quarter finals in Doha, and the fourth round at Indian Wells and Miami. 

Gone were the days when she was considered just a clay-court player, the Dutch power-house, who made the quarter finals at Wimbledon last year, has developed into an all-surface player over the last year, and goes into her home event in s-Hertogenbosch as one of the favourites for the title. She actually made the semi-finals in this tournament in 2015, and will be looking to go a couple of steps better over the next week to claim her first career grass-court title.

First up for her is Sweden’s Johanna Larsson in the first round on Tuesday.

World No. 148, Larsson has had a very difficult campaign, winning just three matches in her 11 main draw appearances this season. Her first win of 2019, against Belarusian, Vera Lapko at the Australian Open was actually via retirement. Larsson did not win a completed match until Nurnberg in May, when she defeated former French Open champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova (lost to Katerina Siniakova in the second round), while she also won her opening match at the French Open, beating Magdalena Rybarikova before falling to Garbine Muguruza.

The Swede is a lot better than her 2019 results have suggested. She possesses a career-high ranking of 45th, attained in 2016, while she has been a consistent top-100 player for the best part of a decade. She had an unbroken spell in that bracket between August 2014 and May 2019, until her poor start to 2019 eventually cost her a top-100 status.

The 30-year-old possesses two WTA singles titles, the latest of which was on the clay of Nurnberg last season. She also made quarter finals in Budapest and Bogota in 2018, but didn’t win consecutive matches at any other tour-level event. That was still good enough to get her to a year-end ranking of 75th- her ninth straight top-100 finish. It is very possible that that streak of top-100 finishes could be broken this year giving how poor her results have been, but the good news is that she still has about six months to change her fortunes.

Larsson is not renowned for her work on grass- she reached the quarter finals in s-Hertogenbosch back in 2011, but she has won just one match on the surface since then, against Sorana Cirstea in Mallorca last year. The stats do not bode very well for her chances of upsetting Bertens on Tuesday.

Bertens and Larsson have split their two career meetings, with Larsson winning in straight sets in Monterrey in 2015, and Bertens responding in kind in Gstaad in 2017.
The Dutchwoman goes in as a heavy favourite to claim their first meeting on grass on Tuesday.

Kiki Bertens vs Johanna Larsson is live from s-Hertogenbosch on Tuesday from 2:30pm local time/ 1:30pm BST

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Bertens vs Larsson WTA s-Hertogenbosch Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Bertens opens s-Hertogenbosch bid against struggling Larsson

Home hope, Kiki Bertens begins her grass court season at home, as she takes in Johanna Larsson in s-Hertogenbosch on Tuesday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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