2019 China Open Beijing Predictions
Final – Beijing Predictions
Osaka d. Barty in three sets – Really looking forward to this one in a clash of two different styles. Osaka is playing much better tennis this week with two very confident wins over Andreescu and Wozniacki, while Barty has needed three sets to oust Kvitova and Bertens. The last few games of Barty-Bertens were tense and thrilling as the class of the World No.1 shone eventually at the end. Barty leads the head to head 2-1, though Osaka won their previous meeting in Nottingham last year. So much has changed for both players since then! I think the most important aspect of this match will be how Osaka handles the Barty slice. Considering her form at the moment and Barty’s occasional patchy play, I’ll go with the Japanese player to win back-to-back titles.
Semifinals – Beijing Predictions
Barty d. Bertens in two sets – Barty leads the head to head 4-0, winning their recent meeting in Sydney this year in a three set thriller. It seems like she’s finally finding her best tennis since Birmingham and is now the match win leader of the season with 51 wins. Bertens also has struggled of late, her struggles starting way back since the French Open, but has produced one of her best runs of late to make a last ditch effort at qualifying for Shenzhen. While Svitolina didn’t produce anything to hurt Bertens in the quarters, Barty has plenty of weapons to hurt Bertens. The losing HTH record will definitely be in the back of Bertens’ mind during the match. If Barty doesn’t make things difficult for herself then she should win this one.
Osaka d. Wozniacki in three sets – Just like how Sabalenka defended her Wuhan title out of the blue last week, Wozniacki has had one of her best weeks of the year as the defending champion in the Chinese capital. The Dane is on a ten-match winning streak in Beijing and even though she hasn’t faced too many tough opponents this week, she hasn’t been winning many matches at all of late so this would definitely build up her confidence. Wozniacki leads the head to head 2-0, but hasn’t faced Osaka since 2017 and obviously the Japanese player is now a different person. It seemed like Osaka-Andreescu was a fantastic match and Osaka produced some clutch tennis and brilliant defence during the encounter. I think Osaka will win this one, but considering Wozniacki’s love for Beijing the former No.1 might make things a little tougher than expected for Osaka.
Day 5 – Beijing Selected Predictions
Andreescu d. Mertens in three sets – A repeat match-up from the US Open where Andreescu won in three sets after a first set blip. Andreescu is on a 14-match winning streak and I don’t think Mertens has the weapons to stop her. Perhaps Andreescu might make things difficult for herself, but nonetheless she should win eventually.
Barty d. Zheng in two sets – Barty leads the head to head 4-0, having won their previous encounter at this year’s Wimbledon in straight sets. I thought Zheng put up a good showing against the World No.1 there, and since then she’s been playing well, winning her last ten of 16 matches, including her biggest title to date in San Jose. Barty just does everything a little better than Zheng so this match should really depend on the Australian’s level. Barty’s been up-and-down ever since Birmingham, but she should be able to show off her skills and dominate this one.
Kenin d. Svitolina in three sets – After Svitolina won their first meeting in a brilliant three set match in Indian Wells, Kenin has won their last two in straights in Toronto and Cincinnati. It seems like this match-up favours Kenin as Svitolina doesn’t have the firepower to hit through Kenin, and the American is excellent at redirecting and counter-punching pace. The drop shot from Kenin has been an excellent play in their last two encounters. This match should come down to both player’s physical states – both Kenin and Svitolina are playing for the sixth straight week (starting from the US Open) and they both have to be feeling some physical strain on their bodies. Especially Svitolina, who has been sporting a knee guard ever since New York. This one can really go either way but I’ll go with Kenin after predicting Svitolina to win in their last two encounters.
Kvitova d. Bencic in three sets – Bencic had a narrow escape after saving two match points to beat Venus Williams in the previous round. Beijing is a huge tournament for Bencic’s WTA Finals chances and I’m sure she’ll be feeling the pressure. Kvitova leads the head to head 3-1, and I think she’s in a good place at the moment and should score the win here.
Day 4 – Beijing Selected Predictions
Zheng d. Stephens in three sets – Stephens leads the head to head 2-0, having won their previous meeting earlier this year in Madrid in three sets. Not sure how this one will go… Stephens is definitely not playing her best tennis at the moment and I don’t think this match-up is favourable for her as Zheng can mix up the play and chase down Sloane’s powerful strikes. This should be a tough and scrappy battle but I’m going for the home favourite to pull through with the crowd on her side.
Barty d. Putintseva in two sets – Another repeat match-up from this year’s Madrid Open, where Barty beat Putintseva in three. Barty played so much better during her Wuhan semifinal run than at the US Open so it seems like she’s finally finding her mojo back. After twisting her ankle in Osaka, Putintseva retired in her previous match in Wuhan so she’s probably not feeling 100% just yet. Id Putintseva isn’t at her tricky best, Barty for the win.
Osaka d. Petkovic in two sets – Osaka just does everything better than Petkovic so if she doesn’t make things difficult for herself she should be able to get a comfortable win.
Kvitova d. Mladenovic in two sets – Kvitova leads the head to head 8-1, and has won the last 14 sets played against Mladenovic. Mladenovic is one of the most match-up minded players on the tour IMO (some HTHs that come to mind: Wang Qiang 0-3, Martic 1-5) and she just can’t match Kvitova power for power. If Kvitova’s forearm holds up then she should win this one.
Day 2 & 3 – Beijing Selected Predictions
V.Williams d. Strycova in three sets – Still remember this iconic handshake from Doha 2015 which is pretty much the reason I’m looking forward to this one! Since reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon, Strycova has lost five of her last seven matches. Not sure what’s going on with her at the moment. After a mediocre first half of the season which saw Williams reach only two quarterfinals and drop to a low of No.65 in the rankings, Williams turned the tide in Cincinnati with a hard fought three-set victory over Bertens and ultimately reached the quarterfinals in that tournament. It’s good to see Venus playing matches during the Asian swing and it shows that she still has the competitive spirit inside her. Venus leads the head to head 4-0 but has not played Strycova since 2016. Think this could be a scrap but Venus’ resilience and extra firepower could help her to get the win eventually.
Svitolina d. Sevastova in two sets – Wondering what’s wrong with Sevastova at the moment. After winning her home title in Jurmala and edging ever closer to breaking into the world’s top ten, Sevastova suffered first round defeats in both Toronto and Cincinnati and didn’t come close to defending her semifinal points from 2018 at the US Open. Very surprised that she lost to McHale in Wuhan having not heard of the American’s name in a long long time. Svitolina is playing her fourth week in a row in China and has been spotting a knee guard in all her matches, but it seems like her desire to qualify for the WTA Finals is keeping her going. Svitolina’s currently holding the eight spot in the Live race to WTA Finals, but her nearest contenders Bencic and Bertens can overtake her spot anytime with a good run in Beijing. Svitolina isn’t playing as well as she did in New York in her four weeks in China, but a solid enough performance should see her through the low-in-confidence Sevastova here.
Kerber d. Zhang in three sets – Kerber’s another player who seems low in confidence at the moment and it dates back to her second round loss at Wimbledon, where she was completely blown off the court by Lauren Davis. Kerber finally ended a five-match losing streak with a semifinal run in Osaka, but disappointing losses to Pavlyuchenkova and Puig in her last two matches suggest she is still struggling a little with her game. Zhang hasn’t done much on the tour since reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, which isn’t too surprising considering Zhang’s high-risk and aggressive game. Not very sure which way to go with this one as Kerber’s counter-punching could prove to be tough for Zhang to handle, but the Chinese player always seems to be able to elevate her game in front of the home crowd. I’m still going for Kerber but would not be surprised at all to see Zhang pull off the victory.
Andreescu d. Sasnovich in two sets – Andreescu’s first match since winning the US Open title over Serena Williams. She’s on a 13-match winning streak at the moment and it seems like everyone is struggling with her on-court game at the moment. Her opponent Sasnovich does have an all-court game as well, but definitely comes up second in terms of power and confidence right now. Andreescu for the win.
Muchova d. Keys in three sets – Going for a wild upset in this one… Muchova just won her first WTA title in Seoul and was playing fantastic and tactically brilliant tennis during the week. She has plenty of variety to trouble Keys who is still up-and-down in her matches and having retired from the Osaka quarters due to a foot injury, is under an injury cloud at the moment. If Keys isn’t playing her best tennis and Muchova is physically ready to soak up all the Keys power, then the Czech can definitely produce a good win here.
Q.Wang d. Tomljanovic in three sets – It’s going to be a tough few weeks for Wang Qiang who has plenty of points to defend in China. Her 2018 results: semifinals in Beijing, Hong Kong title and Zhuhai Elite Trophy finals… She fell in the third round in Wuhan so she’s already dropped to No.20 in the live WTA rankings. This first rounder is not going to be easy at all as Tomljanovic has the power and aggression to force Wang into her shell. Tomljanovic’s been OK all year but her main issue is that she can’t deliver in the big tournaments – she’s 6-10 in main draw matches in Premier 5 level and above. I think Wang will scrap through this one and score an invaluable win in front of her home crowd.
Day 1 – Beijing Selected Predictions
Zheng d. Puig in three sets – Both players have had contrasting seasons so far – Zheng has won her last nine of 14 matches including a title run in San Jose, while Puig hasn’t been able to win back-to-back matches since the French Open. Puig picked up a win over Kerber in Wuhan, but wasn’t able to back it up against Riske in the next round. Puig is just the epitome of inconsistency and since the 2016 Olympics, she hasn’t done anything notable at all. I think she will be troubled by Zheng’s array of slices and moonballs, and unless she can find her range the Chinese home favourite should be able to come through eventually.
Vekic d. Bertens in three sets – Bertens leads the head to head 3-2, winning their most recent encounter in the St.Petersburg final. It’s been a year of two halves for Bertens who was one of the most consistent players on the tour before Madrid and was touted as one of the favourites for Roland Garros. However since her withdrawal from the French Open, Bertens form has dipped and seems to be playing more and more passively in her matches. A pair of puzzling losses to Tomljanovic and Pavlyuchenkova in Zhengzhou and Osaka respectively suggests that Bertens is struggling at the moment. She’s such a confidence player and she’s definitely in a little rut at the moment. Bertens did not get any favours with this draw as Vekic’s been one of the most improved players of the season. Vekic has recorded 36 match wins in 2019, reached her career high ranking of No.21 and recorded her best Slam result to date with a quarterfinal run at the US Open. She suffered a couple of head scratching losses to Doi and Jabeur in her last two matches but she should be ready to play in this one. Her powerful groundstrokes can easily overwhelm and overpower Bertens and with the Dutch player’s low confidence, Vekic should be able to score a good win.
Ka.Pliskova d. Ostapenko in two sets – Not seeing any other result other than a Pliskova win in this one but nonetheless this sounds fun. Both players have had completely opposite 2019s – Pliskova is the epitome of consistency and has recorded 50 wins and four WTA titles this season. Meanwhile, Ostapenko has been awful this year: she has a negative 16-26 win-loss record, suffered 14 first round defeats and has not won three matches in a row in the same tournament. Ostapenko retired in Tashkent with a stomach complaint so I’m surprised to see her in this draw after such a quick turnaround. Unless the Latvian can get some Penko magic going and pray for a miracle to happen, Pliskova’s probably going to get the win here.
Peng d. Kasatkina in three sets – Another really intriguing match is this one. It’s been a while since we heard Peng’s name after she was banned from the tour for a few months, but she’s back thriving in her home country after reaching the semifinals in Nanchang and scoring an invaluable win over her countrywoman Wang Qiang in Guangzhou. Thriving is definitely not the word to describe her opponent, Kasatkina, who is another player having a horrific 2019. In contrast to Ostapenko who has played so many tournaments, Kasatkina hasn’t played too many events. (I don’t think either choice is a good one. Without matches, you’re definitely not going to gain any confidence, but if you keep playing and losing in the first round, it definitely does not help your game in any way.) Kasatkina hasn’t won three matches in a row at any event in 2019 and is currently on a four-match losing streak. Considering Peng is playing at home, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see her raise her level and capitalise on Kasatkina’s vulnerabilities and lack of ruthlessness in the big moments.
Kenin d. Muguruza in two sets – Another match-up between and in-form player and an out-of-form player. Kenin’s coming off a WTA title in Guangzhou and is definitely one of the most improved players this season, starting the year at No.52 and improving her ranking by 35 spots to a career-high of No.17. Muguruza finally won her first match since the French Open over Peng at Wuhan, but lost comprehensively to No.3 seed Svitolina in the next round. Kenin just does everything a little better than Muguruza at the moment, especially with her current confidence level and movement. The only worry is that Kenin might be feeling the effects of playing four weeks in a row in China physically, but she’s a fighter and I doubt that will get to her in this match.
Bencic d. Hsieh in three sets – Both players are absolute masters at taking the ball early so this should be a fun one. It wasn’t very surprising to see Bencic fall early in Wuhan after her best Slam result to date with the semis in New York, but if she wants to secure a place in the WTA Finals then she really needs to get some wins before it is too late. I don’t think Su-Wei is playing her best tennis ever since Wimbledon as she’s been lacking a bit of energy in her matches, especially during her last few matches in the Asian swing. Perhaps a second-half of the year burnout? Still think Hsieh’s funkiness should trouble Belinda, but the latter should eventually get herself out of a tough battle.