The 2019 Linz Open continues on Tuesday, October 8 with Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic leading the action. Here’s Belinda Bencic v Anna-Lena Friedsam & Donna Vekic v Polona Hercog Tips tips, previews and predictions for these opening round matches.Get the best odds for the WTA China Open 2019 with 888Sport here.
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Belinda Bencic v Anna-Lena Friedsam Predictions & Preview
This will just be the second time that Belinda Bencic will be facing Anna-Lena Friedsam in her career with their first match having come all the way back in the second round at Wimbledon. Bencic was stretched to three sets in that one but she came through 6-0 in the final set. Not that it should have too much bearing on this one.
Bencic has gone through her own set of ups and downs but she is definitely more up than down this year, having risen back to 10th in the world. A title win in Dubai has helped but more so her performances in the bigger tournaments including the US Open where she made it to the semi-final before the eventual winner Bianca Andreescu put paid to her chances.
A shock first match loss at Wuhan followed but it might have been more to do with a long season drawing to a close. She did make it to the quarter-final at the China Open but then again lost to Petra Kvitova.
Friedsam had her days around the 2012-13 period when she achieved her career-best of 45th ranked in the world, but things have come to such a state this season, she has had to feature in the lower-level ITF tournaments. And she has done well too but now ranked 166th in the world, it would be a bridge too far to traverse for her here.
Tip: Bencic to win in straight sets: 4/7 with Unibet
Donna Vekic v Polona Hercog Tips Predictions & Preview
World number 21 Donna Vekic will be up against Polona Hercog in their first round match at Linz in what will also be their first ever meeting. Vekic is coming off a sudden dip in fortunes since her US Open quarter-final appearance which was her best at a Grand Slam. She went down to Misaki Doi in the second round at the Osaka Open, and followed it up with opening round defeats at Wuhan and China Open.
What should like is to stall her three-match losing streak but the relentlessness with which the tournaments keep coming at you never makes it easy to do that once you get into a rut. The good news for Vekic, however, is her opponent is more a clay court specialist but the little she has played indoors, she has won three of her four matches in an ITF tournament.
That said, Vekic had made the final of the St.Petersburg Open earlier this year and will be a heavy favourite to go the distance.
Tip: Vekic to win in straight sets: 11/10 with Unibet
Barbora Strycova v Alize Cornet Predictions & Preview
This is an interesting one and that’s simply because of the history between Alize Cornet and Barbora Strycova. For players who have never been ranked in the top 10, they possess a rivalry to behold with nine matches between them. Cornet leads 6-3 on head to head while on indoor courts, it 1-1 on head to head.
The last time they played was around a year back in Wuhan where Strycova came away a 6-3, 6-2 winner but with the edge that Cornet has over her opponent it is never an easy call to make. Strycova, now ranked 34th in the world, has lost five of her previous six matches, is 6-13 on hard court and never played on indoor courts this year.
Cornet’s struggles look more pronounced, with barely any wins in the main draws of hard court surfaces and her only indoor match coming in a first round loss at St.Petersburg. All in all, a tough match to call but one that might go the distance.
Tip: Three sets in the match: 6/4 with Unibet
Maria Sakkari v Stefanie Voegele Predictions & Preview
This first round match has Maria Sakkari take on Stefanie Voegele in what is also their third meeting. Voegele, who has currently fallen to 132nd in the world, won both of them including one as recently as last year in Acapulco while the other win came in Taipei indoors. Things have changed drastically though what with Sakkari having risen to 30th in the world and Voegele outside the top 130.
Sakkari hasn’t played since the US Open, where she reached the third round but lost to Ash Barty so there might be bit of rustiness. That said, she has shown solid form this year which has included a tournament win on clay. Voegele has been quite the opposite with a 7-13 win-loss on hard court and needing two qualifying wins to get to the main draw.
While Sakkari will be a favourite here, the one thing that’s worrying is her lack of matches while Voegele has gotten used to the conditions and this might get to be closer than one might think.
Tip: Games Handicap Stefanie Voegele+4.5: 47/50 with Unibet