Standings screenshot from shiseidowtafinalsshenzhen.com
Despite her opening loss to a razor-sharp Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova enters her second round-robin match against Belinda Bencic in encouraging form. The Czech played admirably in the 2019 Australian Open final rematch and had her chances, but ultimately fell victim to Osaka's power and her own inability to capitalize, going just five of 14 on her break point chances.
The 2011 WTA Finals champion will look to notch her third win over Bencic in 2019. Kvitova dispatched the Swiss with relative ease during her Melbourne run and in Beijing, but fell in the Dubai final. All in all, Kvitova owns a 4-1 head-to-head record, with all four wins coming in straight sets.
To make matters worse, Bencic is battling a left-foot injury. After winning the first set against Ashleigh Barty, she hustled over to her coach who appeared to hand her some pain-relieving tablets. The pills appeared to have little effect, as Bencic dropped the final two sets, 6-1, 6-2. While the lopsided scoreline surely worsened Bencic’s pain, it was clear that she was not at full strength.
Hopefully her pain subsides; if it doesn’t, the US Open semifinalist is in for a long and frustrating week. Players like Bencic can navigate most tournaments at less than 100%, but not the WTA Finals. There is simply no reprieve. Combine Bencic’s injury concerns with her history against the Czech, and Kvitova is the overwhelming favorite on paper in this match. Winner: Kvitova
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