Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 WTA Tour: Ostrava Open

2020 WTA Tour: Ostrava Open

The Ostrava Open takes center stage at CEZ Arena, Czech Republic, Hard Indoor. Damien Kayat previews the matchups between Elise Mertens vs Amanda Anisimova as well as Petra Martic vs Jelena Ostapenko.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

CEZ Arena, Czech Republic, Hard Indoor

Ostrava Open
Selected Round of 16 Matches- 21st October

Elise Mertens (7) (4/10) vs Amanda Anisimova (17/10)
Elise Mertens is one of those rare players on tour who has managed to juggle the dual tasks of singles and doubles action over the past few years. She broke through in singles competition by reaching the semi-final of the 2018 Aussie Open. She then went on to win last year’s US Open Doubles title alongside Aryna Sabalenka. Her dual consistency was probably best encapsulated in her qualifying for both the singles and doubles season-ending events in 2019. And the 24-year-old Belgian has enjoyed some of the best post-lockdown form of anyone on tour. She lost to Simona Halep in the Prague Final.  She then went on to reach the semi-final of the Western and Southern Open. She would replicate that Flushing Meadows success with a quarterfinal run at the US Open. His will be the first time she has played since an early defeat at Roland Garros.

Whatever happens from this moment onwards, Laura Siegemund will always be remembered for eating a bowl of noodles during her 4th round encounter with Paula Badosa. It was just another bizarre sight in a year of incongruity. Laura Siegemund is one of four unseeded players in this year’s quarterfinals. The German journeywoman has two WTA titles and twelve ITF titles to her name. She enjoyed the greatest success of her career a few weeks back, winning the US Doubles title alongside Vera Zvonareva. But few would have given the pugnacious Siegemund much chance of advancing to this stage. She has had to overcome the likes of Gorges and Martic en route to this stage. But one look at Siegemund’s resume does reveal a certain penchant for the clay. She won her first WTA title in 2016 in Bastad. She then won a WTA Premier event in Stuttgart, delighting her home fans with a victory as a wildcard entry. She also reached the semi-finals last year in Bucharest. Siegemund is clearly riding the crest of a wave and will look to further exploit a depleted Grand Slam draw.  

Amanda Anisimova stands at the vanguard of this new wave of exciting young talent. She is your prototypical modern player, going for broke on both wings at every given moment. She came to the attention of the tennis world by reaching the 2018 Japan Open Final as a 17-year-old. Last year she became the youngest Roland Garros semi-finalist since Vadisova in 2006 (what happened to her?). But her form took a major skydive following the death of her father towards the end of last year. This year has been beset by poor form and sporadic injuries (not to mention a certain global pandemic). She needs some regular time out on court to rediscover the form that propelled her to the brink of superstardom.  

These two have only met once before, with Mertens emerging victorious at Indian Wells last year.  Mertens has a year-to-date win-loss record of 28-11. Furthermore, she has a 32-22 record on indoor hardcourts. Anisimova has only played three indoor hardcourt matches in her brief career. I can only see one result, with Mertens likely to win in straight sets at 21/20.  

Petra Martic (5) (15/20) vs Jelena Ostapenko (19/20)
Croatian Petra Martic has been one of those players that has slyly slipped by without detection.  She reached three consecutive Grand Slam 4th rounds last year (the highlight of which was a quarterfinal at Roland Garros). She once again showed her acumen for Grand Slam tennis at this year’s US Open ()falling at the 4th round once again. Martic also won her first WTA title last year in Istanbul. She showed it wasn’t a fluke by reaching yet another final in Zhengzhou towards the end of the year. She has shown glimpses of her best form during this admittedly difficult year. Clearly her best result came in Dubai, where she beat the likes of Strycova and Kontaveit en route to a semi-final berth.  But her post-lockdown form has been patchy at best, with a semi-final on the Palermo clay her best result thus far.  

The women’s tour has been a strange entity for some time. Form is almost non-existent. Think of some of the most consistent players on tour.  The likes of Pliskova and Svitolina reach a smorgasbord of semi-finals and quarterfinals. Perhaps being a wayward talent like Jelena Ostapenko is the better way to go. The 2017 French Open Champion has shown from an early stage her class. Following her unheralded Roland Garros victory, she would go on to reach a Wimbledon semi-final (in the same year she would reach the final in Miami). But 2019 saw a spectacular dive in form that looked nearly insurmountable.  But a late season urge saw her reach the final in Linz before capturing the title in Luxembourg. That would be her first WTA title since Seoul in 2017. The death of her father greatly derailed her early 2020 preparation. The Covid break probably came as a relief for the Latvian as she struggled for form in the aftermath of that tragedy.  This will be her first appearance since a 3rd round run at Roland Garros.  

As I stated earlier: Martic is the metronome while the free-wheeling Ostapenko is the livewire. Martic holds a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over Ostapenko. But she has an alarming predisposition to lose against lower-ranked players when it really counts. Couple that with Ostapenko’s ‘devil-may-care’ attitude, and you have an upset in the making here.  

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets

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