Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: WTA Tour: Pan Pacific Open Preview

WTA Tour: Pan Pacific Open Preview

Tennis player holds racquet

The round of 16 gets underway at the Pan Pacific Open with Damien Kayat previewing the respective matchup between Kiki Bertens and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova!

WTA Tour 2019 | WTA International | Pan Pacific Open
Outdoor Hardcourts, Osaka, Japan
Selected Round of 16 Match | 19 September 2019

Kiki Bertens 6/10
vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 12/10

Kiki Bertens is a real example to players who may not quite break through at Naomi Osaka or Bianca Andreescu pace. Now 27, Bertens has really exploded in the last few seasons. Martina Navratilova has openly complimented her all-round game and lack of obvious weaknesses. Her 2019 campaign has been the model of consistency on all surfaces. She perhaps will feel disappointed that she hasn’t flirted with Grand Slam contention more often. She will look to follow in the footsteps of Elina Svitolina and make deeper runs in slams. But she has utterly flourished in regular tour events, winning titles in Madrid and St Petersburg. She also lost finals in Palermo and Rosmalen. And amongst that, there has been a veritable smorgasbord of semi-final appearances. While Bertens is widely considered a clay-court specialist, she has evolved into an all-court presence that can contend in any event. Her most recent form has been slightly patchy, perhaps a reflection of a truly exhaustive schedule. Hardcourts have perhaps been her least accessible surface. The highest-ranked Dutch player of all time will be looking to close out the year in a typically robust fashion. 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has enjoyed a slightly different journey to that of Bertens. The 28-year-old was a Phenom on the junior circuit, reaching the number one ranking and winning two junior slams. But junior dominance is not always the greatest harbinger of prolonged success on the regular tour. She hasn’t reached those heights on the tour proper, though she has managed to win twelve singles titles, generally of a lower vintage: The 2014 Kremlin Cup probably stands as her most prestigious title. It has been a fairly non-descript year for the Russian- with one notable exception. She enjoyed a glorious run to the Aussie Open quarterfinal, reaching her 5th Grand Slam quarter in the process. But perhaps most interesting about that run was her victory over a certain Kiki Bertens. Subsequent quarterfinals at St Petersburg and the Monterrey Open haven’t really backed up that terrific early season form. She seems to have flourished in doubles, which often puts a strain on singles performance. But it’s often the case that the post-Grand Slam period can offer opportunities to the journeywomen on tour. 

This will actually be the 7th time that these two have met. While Kiki Bertens leads the head-to-head 5-2, there are some encouraging signs for the Russian. They have met three times this year, with the Russian claiming that brilliant victory at Melbourne. While Bertens has won the two subsequent meetings, the victory at St Petersburg was a hard-fought three-set affair. I don’t quite have the confidence to go ahead and put all my faith in the solid groundstrokes of the Russian. But perhaps a Bertens victory in three makes more sense. Pavlyuchenkova clearly knows how to compete squarely with Bertens and should be able to sneak a set, especially on this surface.  

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets.

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