Madrid Open 2019: Naomi Osaka vs Belinda Bencic, match preview and prediction
The women's singles matches at the ongoing Madrid Open are gaining heat with each passing round. Today is quarter-final day on the women's side of the tournament, and six out of the top eight seeded players are in action.
One of the most intriguing face-offs in the quarterfinals is between the 2019 Australian Open champion and current World No. 1 Naomi Osaka, and Swiss player Belinda Bencic. Both the players had to fight hard in their initial rounds to reach the quarters, and are looking to make a deep run on a surface they are not particularly fond of.
One striking similarity between the two is the fact that both of them have a similar game style. Osaka is probably a little more aggressive than Bencic, but they both like to take the ball early and change the direction of the ball.
Osaka, who had a dream run in 2018 and followed it up by winning the Australian Open in 2019, has not been able to win any tournament since then. She has struggled for consistency the last couple of months; hr best result since January was reaching the semifinal of the Stuttgart Open where she had to retire with an abdominal injury.
She hasn't quite looked her best in Madrid either, but she has found a way to survive in the initial rounds to reach the quarterfinals.
Bencic on the other hand won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis championships by beating players like Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova en route to the title. Since then she has been churning out decent performances, cementing her place in the top 20.
These two players have played against each other two times, with each winning once. Their most recent meeting was in the fourth round of Indian Wells where Osaka lost in tame fashion, going down 6-3, 6-1.
But that match was played on a hardcourt; their only meeting on clay was won by Osaka. In any case, both these players don't have an amazing record on clay, and it remains to be seen what their tactics are going to be coming into this match.
Bencic is the more consistent player of the two, but Osaka has more firepower on her groundstrokes; if she is in good rhythm, she would have a slight upper hand in this clash.
Match prediction: Naomi Osaka to win in three sets.