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Bertens vs Pavlyuchenkova tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Second seed Bertens faces former finalist in Osaka

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 18 Sep 2019
  • Kiki Bertens faces Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round of the Toray Pan-Pacific Open
  • Bertens vs Pavlyuchenkova is live from Osaka on Thursday at 6pm local/10am BST
Kiki Bertens (PA Sports)

Former Toray Pan-Pacific Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova could well oust second seed Kiki Bertens at the Premier-level Osaka event.

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Kiki Bertens looks for her third straight victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as she makes her Toray Pan-Pacific Open debut in Osaka on Thursday.

Bertens was beaten by Pavlyuchenkova in the second round of the Australian Open in January, but has won two subsequent encounters in 2019 and holds a 4-2 head-to-head against the Russian overall.

Bertens lost to Pavlyuchenkova at the Australian Open (PA Sports)
This week last year saw Bertens win the second WTA Tour hard-court title of her career – just about a month after claiming the first at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati – at the Korea Open in Seoul, but the world no. 8 has opted to play the Premier-level Toray Pan-Pacific Open in Osaka in 2019 instead of defending her International-level title.

Bertens is trying to join top seed Naomi Osaka, fourth seed Angelique Kerber, fifth seed Madison Keys and ninth seed Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals in Osaka. The last seed to get going at the Toray Pan-Pacific Open, Bertens is looking to make the quarterfinals or better of a WTA Tour event for the tenth time in 2019, a season which has already seen her capture the biggest title of her career at the Mutua Madrid Open, win her first indoor hard-court title at the Premier-level St Petersburg Ladies Trophy, reach finals in Palermo and ‘s-Hertogenbosch and semifinals in Sydney, Stuttgart, Rome and Eastbourne.

Put this way, it’s difficult to understand why there’s a general perception of Bertens’s season as suib-par, with the Dutch player compiling a 43-19 win-loss record and very much in the frame for Shenzhen qualification – she is in ninth place in the Porsche Road to Shenzhen right now, which with Serena Williams unlikely to play is a very good position, and of the players immediately behind her in the Road, Elina Svitolina has a knee injury and Johanna Konta isn’t playing the Asian swing. But it’s true that Bertens has underperformed at Grand Slam level. Pavlyuchenkova is partly responsible for that, having beaten Bertens in the second round of the Australian Open; illness undermined Bertens’s French Open campaign, the major at which she is a former semifinalist and had perhaps the highest hopes, when she was forced to retire in the second round; and she lost rather limply to Barbora Strycova and Julia Goerges in the third rounds of Wimbledon and the US Open respectively. Indeed, Bertens’s US hard-court swing was underwhelming, although she was unlucky with her draws, facing Bianca Andreescu early at the Rogers Cup and Venus Williams in the opening match of her title defense in Cincinnati.

Bertens tried to bounce back when she played the newly upgraded Zhengzhou Open last week, only to be bounced by an excellent performance by Ajla Tomljanovic, who beat the Dutch player 6-4, 7-6(1). Can Bertens do better this week?

Runner-up at the Toray Pan-Pacific Open in 2017, when she beat Angelique Kerber on her way to the final before losing to Caroline Wozniacki, Pavlyuchenkova won Hong Kong the same year and has been a quarterfinalist in Wuhan and Beijing in the past, so this is often a decent part of the season for the Russian.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (PA Sports)
Ranked as high as world no. 13 in 2011, Pavlyuchenkova comes into the Toray Pan-Pacific Open ranked world no. 41 after another underwhelming season. The tremendously promising junior, whose pro career has never quite lived up to the potential she seemed to have, started 2019 very brightly indeed with a run to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open – the fifth major quarterfinal of her career – beating Bertens and Sloane Stephens before falling to Danielle Collins. Since then, however, she has won back-to-back matches at only two WTA events, St Petersburg in February and Monterrey in April, won only one match on European clay and grass, and has compiled a not-particularly-impressive 17-17 record.

The maddening thing about Pavlyuchenkova, at least from a pundit’s standpoint, is that Pavlyuchenkova’s poor form doesn’t necessarily mean she won’t beat Bertens tomorrow. Mired in a bad run, she nevertheless beat Aryna Sabalenka in Toronto, and ousted the very good Dayana Yastremska in one-sided straight sets in the first round at the Toray Pan-Pacific Open. Underwhelming as her season has been, she nevertheless has a winning record vs top-10 players and is going for her fourth victory over a top-10 player in 2019 as she takes on Bertens tomorrow.

Bertens is 5-2 against Pavlyuchenkova, but a much tighter 3-2 against the Russian when only hard-court meetings are taken into account, and their only previous encounter on Asian hard courts was a win for Pavlyuchenkova in Wuhan last year. Pavlyuchenkova also has a good record at this tournament, warmed up with a good win over Yastremska, and Bertens is floundering at the moment, as her separation from coach Raemon Sluiter shows. It would not be a surprise if Pavlyuchenkova ousted the second seed from Osaka on Thursday. 

Bertens vs Pavlyuchenkova Toray Pan-Pacific Open tennis is live from Osaka on Thursday at 6pm local/10am BST

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Bertens vs Pavlyuchenkova tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Second seed Bertens faces former finalist in Osaka

Kiki Bertens vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova live streaming, preview and predictions for the WTA Osaka second-round match on Thursday 19 September: Shenzhen hopeful Bertens has struggled with Pavlyuchenkova, a former Toray Pan-Pacific Open finalist, in the past

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