Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: WTA Tour: China Open Preview (Round of 32)

WTA Tour: China Open Preview (Round of 32)

Tennis player holds racquet

Damien Kayat previews Bianca Andreescu vs Elise Mertens and Jennifer Brady vs Madison Keys at the WTA's China Open.

WTA Tour 2019 | WTA Premier Mandatory
China Open | National Tennis Centre, Beijing, China
Selected Round of 32 Matches - 2 October 2019

Bianca Andreescu (6/10)
vs Elise Mertens (12/10)
This week actually marks Bianca Andreescu’s return to action following her unbelievable US Open triumph.  She beat Sasnovich in a tight three-set match to open proceedings. The 19 year-old Canadian has been a breath of fresh air for women’s tennis, particularly in the aftermath of last year’s Osaka-Williams debacle at Flushing Meadows. She actually became the first person born in the 2000’s to claim a Grand Slam title. She preaches self-confidence and has picked up some truly remarkable victories this season. Prior to claiming the US Open title she also captured huge victories at the Canadian Open and Indian Wells. Last year her season was scuppered by persistent issues but now the Canadian is in full swing. Having said all that, there is a recent tendency for emerging female superstars to underwhelm in the immediate aftermath of Slam success. So it will be interesting to see how Andreescu balances her new found success.

Elise Mertens is a dangerous player who has found herself in something of a quandary of late. The 2018 Aussie Open semi-finalist has had to awkwardly juggle her own budding solo career with an excellent doubles pedigree. Just this year she has captured the ‘Sunshine Double’ and won her maiden Grand Slam doubles title at the US Open. Perhaps it has been to the slight detriment of her singles career, though she did capture her maiden Premier title in Qatar. A recent semi-final run at the Japan Open seems to suggest that she may be finding a better balance between the two forms. Added to that, Mertens managed to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open Singles to compliment her victory in the doubles.

This will be their 2nd meeting, with Andreescu importantly winning their only encounter at this year’s US Open. That quarter-final was actually one of only two matches in which she was pushed to three sets during the entire tournament. Mertens is a quality player and is certainly worth a look at 12/10, especially when you consider the recent fortunes of newly minted Grand Slam winners. 

Jennifer Brady (2/1)
vs Madison Keys (7/20)
It’s easy to forget that Madison Keys is still just 24 years of age. She just feels older. It’s perhaps just a consequence of her unnerving consistency in Grand Slam events. The 2016 US Open finalist has reached the quarterfinal- at least- of every Grand Slam. This year she has managed to carry over some of that form into regular tour events. She enjoyed a fairly subdued start to the season until she claimed the Charleston Open title. She reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, augmenting her status as a real player in Grand Slam tennis. But her greatest moment of the year came with her victory in Cincinnati, which was the precursor to a final 16 run at Flushing Meadows. The brilliant hardcourt player eased past Muchova in the opening round, setting up this encounter with compatriot Jennifer Brady.

Fellow 24 year-old American Jennifer Brady enters this event having come through the qualifying system. Her opening round win over the uber-talented Anisimova will have encouraged her to no end. She memorably reached the 4th round of the 2017 Aussie Open, which seemed to suggest a bright future. It has been a year of toil for the American, who is struggling to convert to the travails of the regular tour. She actually reached the final of the Oracle Challenger Series event this year, which made it the 2nd consecutive time she has reached that hardcourt final. She also broke through on grass, reaching the semi-final of Nottingham. A recent quarterfinal at a WTA 125K event is the best of her recent form. Brady looks to have the odds stacked against her going into this match.

This will be the first time that these two meet in a WTA event. I have to opt for Keys to win in straight sets at 19/20. Keys is far too nuanced a player for Brady at this moment, especially considering recent form. What’s interesting is Keys’ performance receiving serve against Muchova. She won 46% of points on the Czech’s serve, a ludicrous amount by professional standards. She will have many opportunities to break Brady as the match progresses. 

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