WTA Tour: Citi Open Selected Quarter-Finals Preview

Tennis player holds racquet

Damien Kayat previews selected quarter-finals from the WTA Tour's Citi Open taking place in Washington DC.

Belinda Bencic 11/20 | Andrea Petkovic 27/20
It’s quite amazing to think that Bencic is still just 21 years old. The Swiss ace has been around for what seems like ages and has probably not quite fulfilled her potential. She was the beneficiary of a walkover in her second Round match after beating Dart in the first round. Bencic is actually competing here for the first time since a brilliant showing at Wimbledon. She lost to eventual champion Angelique Kerber in the Round of 16. Outside of that it really has been a patchy year for the former Eastbourne Champion- notwithstanding her early season heroics in helping to clinch the Hopman Cup. But it seems as if the switch to the faster courts suits the Swiss and she could be ready to mount a late-season offensive in the States.

On the opposite end of the age spectrum, 30-year-old German veteran Andrea Petkovic is hoping for a mini-renaissance this week in Washington. The Serb is a six-time winner on the WTA Tour but has really struggled for any consistency this season. Her best result thus far was a semi-final at an ITF event in France. But she is coming off an incredible victory over US Open champion Sloane Stephens. Petkovic has some serious credentials on her CV. She reached the French Open semi-finals in 2014 whilst reaching the Aussie and US Open quarters in 2011. Furthermore, she was a finalist in this very event in 2013. So while she may be in the twilight of her professional career, she has certainly shown the ability to mix it up on these faster American hardcourts.

Bencic leads the head-to-head 3-0, with her last victory coming in at the 2016 US Open. So all the indicators clearly point to a Swiss victory here. I just have a sneaking suspicion that the German may be able to draw from that reservoir of experience and pull off an upset here. This has been an event thus far defined by shock results and 27/20 for a former finalist doesn’t look too bad to me. 

Donna Vekic 9/20 | Magda Linette 31/20
Donna Vekic has had to navigate significant public relations hurdles over the past few years and finally seems to have overcome some of those quite unfortunate incidents. She has beaten Dolehide and Stollar thus far and is coming off an encouraging grass-court campaign. She beat Sloane Stephens en route to a creditable Round of 16 showing at Wimbledon. She also managed her first semi-final result of the year at the Birmingham event. She reached the quarter-finals at both the Istanbul and Hobart events and will be looking to a strong State-side hardcourt campaign to help propel her up the rankings further. She has a WTA Title on the hardcourts in Malaysia and clearly has a preference for the faster surfaces.

26-year-old Polish player Magda Linette is certainly going to be up against it with the formidable Croat. She is coming off a tremendous upset against Naomi Osaka and will be looking to win her first WTA title this week. She is coming off the back of a semi-final showing at the relatively weak Jiangxi Open. She also reached the quarterfinals of an ITF event in Great Britain earlier this season. On the tour proper she has had quarterfinal showings at both the Copa Colsanitas and Taiwan Open. Outside of those more peripheral events, it has largely been a frustrating season for the Polish player. A Round of 32 showing at the Aussie Open held potential but it would appear that the Pole has a mountain to climb here.

This will be the first meeting between the two but it would seem to me that Vekic has all the momentum. While that victory against Osaka was impressive for Linette, the Japanese player is notoriously mercurial and is prone to the occasional slip-up against a lower ranked player. Vekic to win in straight sets looks about right to me. 

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Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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