Fixture: Kiki Bertens vs Jelena Ostapenko
Date: 23 September 2020
Tournament: Internationaux de Strasbourg 2020
Round: Second Round (Round of 16)
Venue: Strasbourg, France
Category: WTA International
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €225,500
Match timing: Approx. 12 pm CEST, 3.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel
Kiki Bertens vs Jelena Ostapenko preview
World No. 8 Kiki Bertens kicks off her campaign at the Internationaux de Strasbourg with a second-round encounter against Jelena Ostapenko.
Bertens made a solid start to the 2020 season and won the title at St. Petersburg back in February, beating the likes of Elena Rybakina and Veronika Kudermetova along the way. However, the coronavirus-enforced lockdown has completely halted her form and momentum.
After opting out of the early clay tournaments in Europe as well as the American hardcourt season, the 28-year-old played her first match in the second round of the Italian Open. However, she crashed out against Polona Hercog without offering much resistance.
Bertens' opponent, former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko, is anything but an amateur on the tour. Like her opponent, however, Ostapenko has also struggled for form since the resumption of the tour. The Latvian lost to Magda Linette in the first round at the Italian Open last week.
That said, Ostapenko does come into this match with some confidence after a measured and comfortable 6-2 6-3 first round win over Lauren Davis.
Kiki Bertens vs Jelena Ostapenko head-to-head
The meeting in Strabourg is the fourth between the two players on tour. And Kiki Bertens currently leads the head-to-head 2-1 against Jelena Ostapenko.
Their last meeting was on the red dirt of Madrid in 2019, where eventual champion Bertens prevailed over Ostapenko 6-4 6-3 in the second round. Before that, the pair met in the first round of Wimbledon in 2016 which saw another easy straight-sets win for Bertens.
Ostapenko's only win against the Dutch player came in Sobota/Rokietnica where she won a three-set semifinal.
Kiki Bertens vs Jelena Ostapenko prediction
Both players come into the match in similar form, but her superior ranking and previous history give Kiki Bertens a slight edge.
Jelena Ostapenko is a formidable claycourt opponent for any player on tour, but she has struggled to maintain her consistency over the past few years. Ostapenko's powerful groundstrokes and aggressive baseline playing style would need to be on song for her to make an impression this week.
If Bertens uses her topspin-heavy forehand to put pressure on Ostapenko's serve, and uses good shot selection to test her opponent's movement, she should get past the finish line in what might be a long and gritty encounter.
Prediction: Kiki Bertens to win in three sets.