Belinda Bencic has her destiny in her own hands as she attempts to make the WTA Finals Shenzhen semi-finals on Thursday night against Kiki Bertens.
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All four players in the Red Group have the chance to make the semi-finals on Thursday as Belinda Bencic and Kiki Bertens square off after Ashleigh Barty and Petra Kvitova do battle earlier in the night.
Barty and Bencic can secure their spots in the semi-finals by winning their respective matches, but Bertens and Kvitova are also in with a shot at advancing from the group, but they need others results, sets and game percentages to go their way. It’s also shaping up to be a thrilling final day of round robin play in the Red Group in Shenzhen!
Making her debut appearance at the WTA Finals, Bencic bounced back superbly from a three-set loss to Barty in her first group match to edge Kvitova by a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 scoreline on Tuesday.
“Somehow I didn’t even feel nervous,” Bencic said. “I had no pressure of not getting eliminated. I saw the script, like, what happens if this player wins, blah, blah, blah.
“I didn’t know before the matches. I just played. I knew if I don’t win this match I’m eliminated, but I didn’t think about it.”
Bencic was the last player to secure her ticket to Shenzhen as the Swiss put together a stellar run to the Kremlin Cup title in Moscow in her last tournament of the regular season, wrapping up her qualification when she won her semi-final – and ironically, ending Bertens’ hopes of qualifying at the time.
After working her way back into competition last year following years of injury setbacks, Bencic has been back playing her best tennis this season, putting together an incredible 12-match winning streak between February and March, helping Switzerland to a Fed Cup victory before going on a magical run at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, conquering four top 10 players on the trot, including Aryna Sabalenka, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Kvitova in the final. Bencic went on to reach the semi-finals of the Premier Mandatory BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells at her next tournament, claiming the scalp of defending champion Naomi Osaka in the fourth round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals before she was eventually stopped by Angelique Kerber.
That run saw Bencic shoot back into the top 20, and after making the semi-finals in Madrid, finishing runner-up in Mallorca and making her first Grand Slam semi-final at the U.S. Open, defeating Osaka for the third time in 2019, she returned to the top 10 for the first time since 2016. Can Bencic cap an incredible year by making the semi-finals in Shenzhen?
Kiki Bertens (PA Images)
She will have her work cut out against Bertens, who has beaten her in all three of their previous encounters. The Dutchwoman sensationally has the chance to make the WTA Finals semi-finals for the second straight year after coming in as an injury replacement for Osaka and conquering World No. 1 Barty in three sets on Tuesday, snapping a five-match losing run against the Australian in the process. Bertens admitted she was feeling a little fatigued after playing the WTA Elite Trophy final in Zhuhai on Sunday, but after beating Barty, she’s ready to put her best foot forward in trying to qualify for the semis.
“I was really tired,” she said after being called in as an alternate for Osaka. “But then yesterday I just hit for five or 10 minutes. I just rested completely. I think today I felt already much better. Of course, it’s not like after one day that you’re completely back in full energy.”
Bertens is playing for the eighth straight week since the U.S. Open after doing all she could to qualify for the WTA Finals in the regular season. The 27-year-old has maintained her top 10 status all season, winning her first Premier Mandatory title in Madrid and also claiming the silverware in St. Petersburg, while she also finished runner-up in s-Hertogenbosch and Palermo – however, Bertens will want to improve her results at the majors in 2020 after she failed to make it past the third round of any slam this season.
But first and foremost, Bertens has the semi-finals on her mind in Shenzhen. She’s beaten Bencic in all three of their previous meetings, but they haven’t played on hardcourt in over a year and their last two encounters went the distance. Both players are tired after long seasons and last-minute entries into the WTA Finals field, so this could come down to who is feeling fresher as the match goes on. I’m going to lean with Bencic, but this really could go either way.
Bencic vs Bertens WTA Finals Shenzhen live streaming, preview and tips – Bertens brings 3-0 record over Bencic into final round robin clash
Belinda Bencic has her destiny in her own hands as she attempts to make the WTA Finals Shenzhen semi-finals on…
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