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Bertens vs Riske WTA s-Hertogenbosch live streaming, preview and tips - Bertens aims for first grass-court title against big-serving Riske

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 16 Jun 2019
  • Kiki Bertens vs Alison Riske is live from s-Hertogenbosch at 12.00pm local time on Sunday (11.00am BST)
  • Bertens has won all three previous encounters between the pair, including earlier this year at the Australian Open
Kiki Bertens (PA Images)

Kiki Bertens targets her first grass-court title on home soil on Sunday when she takes on the big-serving Alison Riske in the Libema Open final in s-Hertogenbosch.

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Can Kiki Bertens complete a set of titles across all surfaces inside the last 12 months? She faces Alison Riske - who is on a nine-match winning streak - in the Libema Open final in s-Hertogenbosch on Sunday.

One year ago we were still labelling Bertens a clay specialist, but fast forward to the present, and the powerful Dutchwoman could have titles secured across all surfaces. Indeed, Bertens - after making the Wimbledon quarter-finals - beat World No. 1 Simona Halep to capture the Cincinnati crown and later prevailed on the hardcourts of Seoul, ending 2018 by qualifying for the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore and reaching the semi-finals.

Bertens went on to win the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy on indoor hardcourts in February of this season and once again put together a stellar clay campaign, making semi-finals in Stuttgart and Rome and winning the biggest title of her career at the Premier Mandatory Mutua Madrid Open, taking out four Grand Slam champions along the way, including Jelena Ostapenko, Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Halep, all in straight sets. Unfortunately for Bertens, her French Open campaign was subsequently derailed by illness, which was a mighty shame considering this was the first time she was considered as one of the genuine top five favourites to come away with the title ultimately won by Ashleigh Barty.

However, Bertens has swiftly bounced back from that disappointment, advancing into the Libema Open final without dropping a set in victories over Johanna Larsson, Arantxa Rus, Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Elena Rybakina. Bertens broke Kazakh qualifier Rybakina early in each set in Saturday’s semi-finals and was never really troubled as she coasted to a 6-4 6-4 victory to earn her spot in the final.

"It was tough because I didn't know her. It's always tough to play someone you've never played before," Bertens said. 
"She's had some good wins here, so I'm just really happy to be in the final of my home tournament."

Now Bertens has the opportunity to win her first grass-court title, but she faces a tough challenge in the form of a grass specialist and in-form player.


Indeed, Alison Riske is currently riding a nine-match winning streak after taking home the $100k ITF event in Surbiton last week and beating Karolina Muchova, Polona Hercog, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Veronica Kudermetova in s-Hertogenbosch this week to reach her second final of the season and eighth overall. Riske was forced to come back from the brink in the semi-finals against Kudermetova - she was two points away from defeat twice and had to recover from Kudermetova serving for the match at 5-4 and 6-5 in the third and leading 5-2 in the tiebreak to eventually prevail 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5).

"I'm so emotional right now, because honestly, I didn't feel like I was going to win that match," Riske said on-court after the match.
"It was such a battle. I thought Veronika played absolutely amazing tennis and I'm just so grateful to be through. I'm excited to be here for another day."

A runner-up on the grass of Nottingham in 2016, Riske has also been a losing finalist on five other occasions, with her record in finals standing at 1-6 and her only previous title coming in Tianjin back in 2014. The 28-year-old began the season by reaching the final in Shenzhen (the third time she’s done that), but unfortunately she again finished runner-up in the Chinese city, this time to Aryna Sabalenka, but it was downhill after that, with Riske losing seven of her eight matches from March onwards and falling in every match she played on clay before regaining some confidence and returning to the winners circle with the aforementioned ITF title in Surbiton last week.

There’s no doubt grass is Riske’s best surface - her booming serve is an extremely dangerous weapon on the slick lawns, as is her powerful forehand. One year ago, I’d probably back her to win this match, but Bertens has taken her game to another level and is so good on all surfaces now. At home and with a 3-0 H2H record over Riske, I’m backing the World No. 4 to win her third title of the season and first grass-court crown.


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Bertens vs Riske WTA s-Hertogenbosch live streaming, preview and tips - Bertens aims for first grass-court title against big-serving Riske

Kiki Bertens targets her first grass-court title on home soil on Sunday when she takes on the big-serving Alison Riske in the Libema Open final in s-Hertogenbosch.

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