WTA Sydney International 2019: Quarterfinals Preview & Predictions Including Petra Kvitova vs Angelique Kerber

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The quarterfinal matches of the WTA Sydney International 2019 are all set. The least surprising result from the second round was Simona Halep’s defeat to Ashleigh Barty. The Romanian was making a long-awaited comeback from injury, and was handed a very tough opposition on her return. Barty was imperious from the back of the court, using the slice return in full effect. She recorded her first victory over a World No. 1. With that win, Ashleigh Barty is now the sole Australian remaining in the draw after Priscilla Hon and Samantha Stosur both lost in three sets.

Garbine Muguruza has withdrawn from the tournament, and therefore Kiki Bertens was handed a straight passage into the last eight, where she will play the short-tempered Kazakh Yulia Putintseva, who came from a set and a break down to stun Sloane Stephens.

Here are predictions of the quarterfinal matches.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs Timea Bacsinszky

Timea Bacsinszky has risen up the rankings quite fast. She was No. 745 in August last year, and was coming off a 14-month winless spell which included hand surgery and a very complicated comeback. Now, she is ranked No. 192, and will compete in her first Premier quarterfinal since her comeback. Sasnovich struggled against young Australian Priscilla Hon. Her second serve percentage was 36% in the whole match. Bacsinszky suffered a horrible 2018 season, but she had a decent run to the Tianjin Open semifinals at the tail end of last year where she beat Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinals. So she is peaking at the right time. This is a 50/50 call, but considering the form that the Swiss woman has displayed since her return, she is a slight favorite to win this.
Prediction: Bacsinszky in 2
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Yulia Putintseva vs Kiki Bertens

It was an amazing come-from-behind win by Putintseva against Stephens, but I am afraid this will be a step too far for her. Kiki Bertens had a day-off, and owns the Kazakh 4-1 on head-to-head.
Prediction: Bertens in 2
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Ashleigh Barty vs Elise Mertens

Ashleigh Barty is on a hot streak at the moment. Since losing her round robin match at the Zhuhai Elite Trophy at the end of 2018, she hit back and won the event, and has only lost one singles match since, which was at the Hopman Cup last week. All of Barty’s victories since Zhuhai have been against top 25 opposition. I think aside from Flipkens, Barty’s sliced return is one of the best on WTA. It takes the sting out of the baseliner. Mertens might regret electing to play Sydney instead of Hobart. She could have been going for a hat trick in latter, but she now has to play an in-form Australian in front of her home crowd. For me Barty will win, but only just.
Prediction: Barty in 3
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Angelique Kerber vs Petra Kvitova

This is undoubtedly the match of the day. A meeting of two Grand Slam champions; Kerber is the defending Sydney champion, and Kvitova won this event in 2015. The head-to-head is tied at 6-6, as is their outdoor hard court head-to-head at 2-2. Kerber is yet to be beaten in singles competition this season. She won all three singles at the Hopman Cup, and won her opening match in Sydney against Camila Giorgi. Kvitova was far from convincing in Brisbane. However, the Czech has managed to pull of two consecutive victories in Sydney for the first time since US Open. Kvitova’s form was on a downward spiral at the back end of last year, but she is one of those players that need no introduction when talking about comebacks. I actually fancy Kvitova’s chances in this match. Just look at Giorgi in the previous round–she took the game to Kerber, and came up short in the important points in that first set, which went to a tiebreak. I think a player of Kvitova’s abilities will be decisive enough.
Prediction: Kvitova in 3

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