Second round matches at the 2019 WTA Kremlin Cup in Moscow kick-start on Wednesday, October 16 with Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic taking to courts. Get Belinda Bencic v Polona Hercog & Donna Vekic v Karolina Muchova preview, predictions, tips, and other statistics.Get the best odds for the WTA Kremlin Cup Moscow 2019 with 888Sport here.
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Belinda Bencic v Polona Hercog Predictions & Preview
This will just be the second time that Belinda Bencic and Polona Hercog will be playing each other with the Swiss world number 10 having won their only previous meeting. Bencic, however, had needed three sets on that match on clay but it had come all the way back in 2014.
It has been a remarkable season for Bencic so far, but it’s only fair to say that she has gone off the boil more recently. Since that semifinal at the US Open, she has lost three of her five matches including two in the opening rounds – at Wuhan and Linz. She did get to the third round at the China Open but even there, the straight-set loss to Petra Kvitova would hurt.
It could be down to end-of-season exhaustion but this is the final stretch and if Bencic is serious about qualifying for the WTA Finals, she knows she needs to go the distance here. And it could be a case of mind over matter in her match against Hercog. The 49th-ranked Hercog has had major issues on hard court surfaces this year and was blown away 6-1, 6-1 at Linz too.
She won in straight sets in the opening round here but Bencic could be a bridge too far for the world number 49.
Tip: Bencic to win in straight sets 21/20 with Unibet
Donna Vekic v Karolina Muchova Predictions & Preview
The world number 21 Donna Vekic will be up against the 35th-ranked Karolina Muchova in this second round match at the Kremlin Cup. Vekic had an opening round bye while Muchova was a surprise winner over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round, winning 6-2, 6-3.
And despite the obvious difference in the rankings between the two, this might not be the most straightforward encounter for Vekic. Very simply, Muchova might even prove to be a handful for her opponent here, what with having shown brilliant form to get to her career-best 35th ranked on the WTA charts.
How has that come about? Since her quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon, Muchova has been a quarter-finalist at New York Open, third round at the US Open and a title winner at Seoul Open. That Seoul triumph was a manifestation of her good form, and her first ever career title which should give her a lot of confidence even against a superior opponent like Vekic.
Muchova did bow out in the first round at the China Open but she was back with that crushing victory against Kuznetsova in the opener. And with Vekic having lost two of her five matches since the US Open quarterfinal it might get to be an interesting match-up.
Tip: Muchova to win in three sets 33/10 with Unibet
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Dayana Yastremska v Kirsten Flipkens Predictions & Preview
Another first match between Dayana Yastremska and Kirsten Flipkens, and it comes between two players who are separated by 14 years by age. 19-year-old Yastremska has risen to 28th in the world – five behind her best ever – while Flipkens, a former world number 13, has now fallen to 120th.
Flipkens has had a good luck with her draw, winning three qualifiers against little-known opponents and then overcoming Natalia Vikhlyantseva, a 93rd-ranked opponent in the opening round. Unfortunately, Yastremska would be a totally different proposition, a player who has already won two titles this year.
Yastremska was a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Daria Kasatkina, and the manner in which she tamed a dangerous opponent like her, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if she wins in straight sets here too.
Tip: Yastremska to win in straight sets 17/20 with Unibet
Ekaterina Alexandrova v Anna Kalinskaya Predictions & Preview
This is an interesting match between two Russians; Ekaterina Alexandrova, who has gradually risen to 38th on the charts while Anna Kalinskaya, who is just 20 years old but could well point to this being a breakthrough year. Kalinskaya is still 102nd in the world, but breaking into the top 100 might not be too far from her grasp.
Kalinskaya is coming off a three-set thriller against fellow Russian and friend Anastasia Potapova, after having made the quarterfinal at Tashkent. She had earlier qualified for the US Open main draw with three wins and then beat Sloane Stephens in an upset victory.
Alexandrova would know her opponent’s style, having played her twice and won both times too. One of those wins, incidentally, came earlier this year at the St. Petersburg Open qualifiers but Kalinskaya has come a long way since then.
All things considered, we still think Alexandrova would remain a favourite but this might go to three sets.
Tip: Three sets in the match 8/5 with Unibet