Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic will take on the Slovakian Polona Hercog in the second round at the Kremlin Cup on Wednesday, October 16. The match is scheduled to start at 11 am local time (9 am BST). You can find Belinda Bencic v Polona Hercog live streaming options along with its preview, head to head and tips here.
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Belinda Bencic v Polona Hercog Head to Head
The pair met once before on the clay courts of Rome in 2014. Bencic won on that occasions in three sets.
Bencic Getting Back to her Best after Two Years
The 22-year-old Swiss has had a remarkable comeback season in 2019. She was the world number seven just at the age of 18 back in 2016. She had become the first teenager to break into the top 10 rankings since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009. But a spate of bad injuries and inconsistent form meant that she found herself as low as 318 in the ranking just a year later. In 2017 & 2018, she struggled to establish her once again to her pre-injury form.
But this year, she started to show the glimpses of her old self. She won the Dubai Open and followed it up with a semi-final run at the Indian Wells. Another semifinal appearance at the Madrid Masters and a final appearance at Mallorca followed. The best grand slam run of her career came at the US Open a couple of months ago. She reached the semi-finals before losing to the eventual champion, Bianca Andreescu.
She once again broke into the top 10 on the back of this performance. Her form since then has been patchy with early-round exits at Wuhan and Linz. Her only previous appearance in Moscow was back in 2016, where she crashed out in the first round itself.
Hercog Looking to Improve Hard Court Numbers
Polona broke her seven-year dry spell of not winning a WTA event earlier this year when she won at Lugano. Predominantly a clay court player, Polona, has been playing much more on the hard courts in the last two years. She had only played around 30% of her career matches on the hard courts until 2018. The number for the last two years has been about 45%.
Her overall performance this year has been inconsistent with some impressive victories followed by losses to lower-ranked opponents. She won against Madison Keys at the Wimbledon, causing a huge upset but has also failed to go past the first round of the main draw in 12 tournaments this year.
Her only previous appearance in Moscow was in 2011, where she went out in the first round itself.
Belinda Bencic v Polona Hercog Predictions & Tips
Bencic’s performances have been disappointing since her phenomenal run at the US Open, but she would be far too strong for the Slovak. Polona, despite her best efforts to improve her hardcourt record, primarily remains a clay-court specialist. The indoor hard courts at Moscow will limit the topspin that she can generate in her shots and aid Bencic’s sharp return shots.
I expect the Swiss to go through quickly.
Tip: Bencic to win in straight sets: 10/11 with 888Sport