With such a strong line-up at the Brisbane International, there was bound to be some brutal matches, and one of them is this all ‘-ertens’ match-up between World No.12 Elise Mertens and World No.9 Kiki Bertens. Read on for the dedicated preview of the match…
Brisbane International, First Round
Elise Mertens (No.12) vs  Kiki Bertens (No.7)
Can’t believe this match-up has happened in the first round, because you would think Elise Mertens would be a seed after her successes in 2018 – well, this just shows you how stunning is this Brisbane line-up! Mertens ended 2018 on quite a low, but it definitely could be attributed to end of season fatigue after what she achieved in the beginning of the year. Mertens won three titles, made her way into the world’s top 20, and reached her first Slam semifinal at the Australian Open. However, this also means that Mertens has a ton of points to defend over the course of the next few weeks, so let’s see how she gets on the new season.
In contrast to Mertens, Bertens’ biggest results all came in the second half of 2018. Bertens made her first Slam quarterfinal on surfaces other than clay at Wimbledon, picked up her biggest title of her career at Cincinnati, and sneaked in to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore, eventually reaching the semifinals there. Bertens is a force to reckon with on her day, but as I mentioned in my predictions post earlier, she might feel the pressure of doing well as she’s now a top ten player. How the Dutchwoman fares will be another interesting thing to look forward over the new season.
Head to head: Mertens leads the head to head 2-0, with both of the wins coming on hard courts in 2017.
Thoughts: This is a very interesting match-up; perhaps one of the best in the entire Brisbane draw. Bertens has never played well in Australia, though at the end of 2018 she finally showed that she can produce good tennis on hard courts. Conversely, Mertens has always produced her best tennis in Oceania, winning two titles in Hobart and making her best Slam result at the AO. The fast hard courts in Brisbane should also provide more oomph to Mertens’ groundstrokes. While both will be trying to shake off their rust from their off season, I’m more convinced that the more defensive player, Mertens, will be able to provide a more solid and assured display.
Final Prediction: Elise Mertens d. Kiki Bertens in three sets
Thanks for reading! Please check out my Brisbane predictions here!