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Bertens vs Sabalenka WTA Eastbourne live streaming, preview and tips - Bertens targets fourth straight win over Sabalenka in quarter-finals

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 27 Jun 2019
  • Kiki Bertens vs Aryna Sabalenka is live from Eastbourne around 2.00pm local time/BST on Thursday
  • Bertens has won all three of their previous meetings
Kiki Bertens (PA Images)

Kiki Bertens brings a 3-0 record over Aryna Sabalenka into their Nature Valley International quarter-final showdown in Eastbourne on Thursday.

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Third seed Kiki Bertens targets her fourth straight win over last year’s Eastbourne runner-up Aryna Sabalenka when the pair square off for a place in the Nature Valley International semi-finals on Thursday.

Bertens has been in great form since transitioning into the grass following her disappointing second round exit at Roland Garros that was due to illness, winning six of her seven matches on the surface - and it really should have been seven from seven if not for the Dutchwoman blowing five championship points in the Libema Open final against Alison Riske in s-Hertogenbosch a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, Bertens is looking dangerous on the lawns once again and hasn’t been tested so far in Eastbourne, beating Yulia Putintseva and Anna-Lena Friedsam in straight sets to make the quarter-finals for the first time.

It was this time last year when Bertens began her move from clay-court specialist to all-court master, beating Venus Williams to make the Wimbledon quarter-finals, while the Dutchwoman also picked up hardcourt titles in Cincinnati (where she beat World No. 1 Simona Halep in the final) and Seoul, along with qualifying for the WTA Finals for the first time and making it to the semi-finals of the season-ending championships, solidifying herself as one of the WTA’s best players. Bertens, who contemplated retirement a few years ago, has continued her superb form throughout 2019, compiling a 33-12 record for the season, including winning two titles in St. Petersburg and the Premier Mandatory Mutua Madrid Open, where she beat four Grand Slam champions on her way to the silverware: Jelena Ostapenko, Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Halep.

Bertens was seemingly on track to give Roland Garros a real shake following her superb run in Madrid, but unfortunately disaster struck and she was forced to retire in the second round due to illness. It was a crushing blow as Bertens was considered among the top three favourites for the title that Ashleigh Barty ultimately took home, but there’s no reason why the Dutchwoman can’t make an impact at Wimbledon over the next fortnight. But first, she has her sights set on a first grass-court title in Eastbourne this week.

Aryna Sabalenka stands in her way on Thursday. It’s been a tough season for the explosive 21-year-old so far in 2019, but Sabalenka finally managed to score her first top 25 win of the season on Wednesday as she took out reigning champion Caroline Wozniacki in a three-set thriller, avenging her defeat to the Dane from last year’s final. Sabalenka came back from a set down and 2-5 in the third, saving a match point at 3-5 before edging out the tiebreak to emerge triumphant by a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) scoreline and reach the Eastbourne quarter-finals for the second straight year.



"Of course I'm happy with this win, and especially against Caroline," Sabalenka said after the win. "She's a great player, and I lost to her in the final here last year. This win is really important for me, and I didn't win these tough matches for long, since last year.
"I don't know what's gonna happen tomorrow, but I can see that I'm coming back on my game and on my fight," added Sabalenka. "Tough mind, I would like to say."

While Sabalenka has struggled to back up her outstanding results from last season over the first six months of 2019, it’s worth noting that most of her good work during 2018 came in the second half of the year. Indeed, after starting the year ranked No. 78 in the world, Sabalenka defeated eight top 10 players from June to October as she won her first two WTA titles in New Haven and Wuhan, finished runner-up in Eastbourne, made the semi-finals in Cincinnati, quarter-finals in Beijing and Tianjin and the fourth round of the U.S. Open, where she was the only player to take a set off eventual champion Naomi Osaka. Perhaps her win over Wozniacki will prove a turning point in Sabalenka’s season?

If she is to continue on in Eastbourne, Sabalenka will need to earn a first win over Bertens, with the Dutchwoman winning all three of their previous meetings, including earlier this season in St. Petersburg. There’s no doubt Sabalenka played one of her best matches of the year against Wozniacki, and if she can reproduce that level, she’s a very good chance. However, Bertens has been operating consistently at that level for basically 12 months now. Sabalenka is a good shot, but Bertens has the runs on the board, is more reliable right now and deserves to start favourite.


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Bertens vs Sabalenka WTA Eastbourne live streaming, preview and tips - Bertens targets fourth straight win over Sabalenka in quarter-finals

Kiki Bertens brings a 3-0 record over Aryna Sabalenka into their Nature Valley International quarter-final showdown in Eastbourne on Thursday.

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