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Bertens vs Tomljanovic tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Bertens starts Zhengzhou campaign vs powerful Tomljanovic

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 12 Sep 2019
  • Kiki Bertens faces Ajla Tomljanovic in the second round of the Zhengzhou Open
  • Bertens vs Tomljanovic is live from Zhengzhou on Friday at 11:00am local/ 4:00am BST
Kiki Bertens (PA Sports)

After rain washed out play in Zhengzhou on Thursday, Kiki Berten will start her campaign on Friday as she takes on Ajla Tomljanovic. Ajla Tomljanovic avenge two previous defeats against Bertens when they meet again in the Chinese city?

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Whoever wins Friday's contest will be on double duty, with the victory scheduled to take on Alison Riske or Saisai Zheng in the quarter finals later in the day. Both of Kiki Bertens’s previous clashes with Ajla Tomljanovic have gone the distance – will it be the same story when they meet on Friday?

The top players have had mixed results so far in Zhebgzhou: Angelique Kerber lost in the first round to Alison Riske while sixth seed Sofia Kenin has already booked her place in the quarterfinals. Can Bertens follow suit?

Kiki Bertens (PA Sports)
Bertens is looking to get her season back on track after a disappointing American hard-court summer. The first half of the Dutch player’s season held plenty of highlights – her third career hard-court title in St Petersburg, semifinals in Sydney, Stuttgart and Rome, and her biggest career title at the Mutua Madrid Open – and although she was derailed by an unlucky illness and had to retire in the first round of the French Open, a tournament one feels she had (rightfully) high expectations for, she still went on to reach the finals of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Palermo, although her third-round exit from Wimbledon will have been a disappointment to her.

Since Palermo, however, Bertens went 3-3 on American hard courts – particularly disappointing since she was defending her title in Cincinnati. She had tough draws in Toronto and Cincinnati, losing hard-fought three-setters to Bianca Andreescu and Venus Williams, but her third-round US Open defeat to Julia Goerges was a bit meek by the scoreline, and it was followed by the announcement that she and Raemon Sluiter, who had played a crucial role in her rise into the top 10, were taking a break for a while because Sluiter felt no longer able to get the best out of Bertens.

That’s not a sign of a confident player who likes where she is in her game, despite a really very decent season (the evidence for which is that she’s currently ninth in the Porsche Road to Shenzhen, and with Serena Williams almost certain not to play, that puts her very much in qualifying position).

So Bertens isn’t exactly in crisis coming into Zhengzhou, but she might be feeling like she’s in crisis as she tries to get some wins going at the new Premier-level event.

Ajla Tomljanovic already has a win under her belt in Zhengzhou, where she trounced qualifier Lesley Kerkhove (a compatriot of Bertens’s) 6-2, 6-0.

Ajla Tomljanovic (PA Sports)
A promising junior player whose career has been frequently derailed by injury, Tomljanovic’s most recent major injury came in the form of a shoulder problem that required surgery and kept her off court for a year, seeing her return unranked at the start of 2017. The Croatian-born Australian player was back inside the top 50 by the end of 2018 thanks to runner-up finishes at WTA Tour International-level events in Rabat and Seoul (where she lost to Bertens herself in the final), and reached a career-high ranking of world no. 39 in April after reaching another WTA Tour final in Hua Hin and the third round of Miami, beating Aryna Sabalenka on the way.,

Tomljanovic hasn’t really pushed upwards from there. She made the third round in Charleston and the semifinals of Rabat, but hasn’t made much impression on the larger events and hasn’t won back-to-back main-draw matches since making the quarterfinals of Nottingham in June. It’s not easy when, as an unseeded player, you are at the mercy of the draw – Tomljanovic had the bad luck of facing defending champion Simona Halep in the first round of the French Open, Victoria Azarenka in the second round of Wimbledon and Anett Kontaveit in the second round of the US Open after getting a good win over Marie Bouzkova. It certainly makes it difficult to build much momentum.

A quarterfinalist in Hiroshima this week last year, Tomljanovic chose this year to upgrade to the new Premier-level event in Zhengzhou and is looking to win back-to-back matches at a tournament that’s Premier-level or higher for the fourth time this year as she takes on Bertens.

Both of their previous matches have gone Bertens’s way, but both have been hard-fought, with Bertens coming back from a set down at the French Open in 2017 and then weathering a second-set fightback from Tomljanovic before winning the Seoul final 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-2. I have to say, although Bertens is a better athlete and an all-round better player, this looks like an excellent chance for Tomljanovic to get a win. She’s already adjusted well to the conditions, she’s been playing well in 2019 and she’s got the weapons to really take it to Bertens, while the Dutch player is flailing for confidence. It could be an upset in the last match of the day at the Zhengzhou Open on Friday.

Bertens vs Tomljanovic Zhengzhou Open tennis is live from Zhengzhou on Friday at 11:00am local/4:00am BST

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Bertens vs Tomljanovic tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Bertens starts Zhengzhou campaign vs powerful Tomljanovic

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