WTA Tour: Cincinnati Open Selected Quarter-Finals Preview

Tennis player holds racquet

Damien Kayat previews the final two quarter-finals from the WTA Tour's Cincinnati Open taking place at the Linder Tennis Centre.

Petra Kvitova 9/20 vs Elise Mertens 16/10
This quarterfinal is actually a meeting between two of the most decorated players on tour this season. Petra Kvitova’s remarkable comeback from that horror knife attack has seen her win an unbelievable five titles this year. That includes victories on the hardcourts of Qatar and St. Petersburg. While not quite able to extend her form into a concerted Grand Slam challenge, she has really dominated the tour outside of the marquee events. That includes a truly surprising domination of several clay-court events. Kvitova grabbed the early headlines this week with a victory over Serena Williams. The two-time Wimbledon Champion routinely dispatched of Kristina Mladenovic in the last round and looks to be building a head of steam as the US Open approaches. She reached the quarter-finals of Flushing Meadows last year and will take some beating.

22-year-old Belgian Elise Mertens has won three tiles herself this season, though perhaps not quite matching the prestige of Kvitova’s success. She won early in Hobart before that heroic run to the semi-finals in Melbourne. That result really announced her on the world stage and victories in the Samsung Open and Morocco underline her status as a potential Grand Slam contender further down the line. Having said all that, her form has dipped significantly in the second half of the season. A Round of 16 showing at the French almost reinstalled some of that early season razzmatazz. She is coming off an encouraging Rogers Cup performance after reaching the quarter-finals last week. She also beat current US Open Queen Sloane Stephens in the last round and has to be considered a contender whoever she faces.

Quite surprisingly this will be the first meeting between the 28-year-old Kvitova and the 22-year-old Belgian. I say surprisingly, it’s perhaps connected to Kvitova’s considerable hiatus following that horror hand injury. While Mertens has had an impressive campaign, it seems as if Kvitova may be the woman to beat this week. She is looking immensely powerful and I think should prevail over the Belgian in this quarterfinal. In fact, a straight sets victory at 7/10 seems reasonable. 

Aryna Sabalenka 15/10 | Madison Keys 9/20
This is a slightly lower profile affair that nonetheless has its own sense of intrigue. 20-year-old Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka is actually one of the breakthrough players on the tour this season. She has shown hardcourt credentials before, reaching the Tianjin Final last season. She started the year in fairly anonymous fashion before a Round of 32 showing at a stacked Indian Wells event showed her potential. She then went on to reach the final at the Samsung Open before embarking on a particularly successful grass-court campaign. She reached the quarters at the Rosmalen event before a brilliant run to the Birmingham final. She will have been disappointed by an opening round Wimbledon defeat. She already possesses the key ability to beat top players. She beat Wozniacki last week in Canada and has already accounted for Pliskova and Garcia in this match.

Madison Keys is coming off an excellent win over Angelique Kerber and will be feeling confident ahead of the year’s final Major. Keys memorably reached the final in Flushing Meadows last season and has had further encouragement this season. She reached the quarters in Melbourne- once again underlining her Grand Slam pedigree. She had a somewhat disturbing flop at the ‘Sunshine Double’ earlier this season, but she once again turned on her magic en route to a brilliant semi-final appearance at Roland Garros. She may be yet to reach a final this year, but her performances in the slams highlight her devastating potential at the highest possible level.

This will be the first meeting between these two and promises to be a thunderous collision of two powerful young ladies. Keys will clearly be the favourite owing to her pedigree in Slams and love for these quick American courts. But I just have a feeling that the Belarusian- who has already shown a penchant for giant-killing this season- could be worth a plug at a more agreeable price of 15/10

Twitter - HollywoodbetsInstagram - HollywoodbetsFacebook - Hollywoodbets

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

Register now and start betting with Hollywoodbets today!

Bet now on Tennis with Hollywoodbets!