WTA Dubai Tennis Championships 2019, Final: Petra Kvitova vs Belinda Bencic, Preview and Prediction
For Kvitova, this is a second big final this year after the Australian Open. She and her legion of fans would hope that the result will be different this time round.
Her performance this year has been quite impressive, though she had a dip at the St. Petersburg Open, where she lost early to Donna Vekic. At Dubai Open, she has struggled with her serve, but has still managed to play well enough to come thus far, unlike many other seeded players who have fallen by the way-side.
Her three-set win over Hsieh Su-wei showcased that Kvitova is not all about power play and big piercing forehands alone. From the outset, it was clear that she had studied Hsieh’s game and had come with a plan.
To negate Hsieh’s variations, especially her slices and scoops, she tried to shorten the games by employing the serve and volley tactic. Though it did not particularly work in the first set, she did not let that disappointment get to her.
She did change up her tactics a bit without completely changing her plans, and eventually triumphed in three sets. She still had problems with her serve, which was exemplified by eight double faults, many of which came in an error-prone first set itself. But she should take confidence from the fact that she had an impressive second serve win percentage of 76%.
Like Kvitova, her final opponent Belinda Bencic did well too on her second serves and her win percentage was at an even higher 80%. In a close three-set encounter against the two-time defending Champion Elina Svitolina, this was one of the major contributing factors in her win, as the same for the Ukrainian was at a lowly 43%.
Bencic has been a revelation in this tournament. She may not have played lights-out tennis, but she has been able to come out on top at crucial junctures in the matches so far. Against, Kvitova, she would like to play a more consistent brand of tennis and avoid making too many unforced errors, especially double faults.
The Swiss star would certainly like to take a leaf out of Hsieh’s book, at least from the first set, and would try to engage the Czech in long rallies, which could lead to unforced errors from the shot-maker. But if Kvitova plays her best tennis, she should be able to get past the resurgent Bencic.
Prediction: Petra Kvitova to win in 3 Sets