World number eight Kiki Bertens faces up to the challenge of the 50th-ranked Polona Hercog in the second round of the 2020 WTA Italian Open on Thursday, September 17. The match will be played some time after 1 pm local time (12 noon BST) local time. Get the live streaming options of this Kiki Bertens v Polona Hercog match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Kiki Bertens v Polona Hercog Head to Head
This will be the third match between Bertens and Hercog with the head to head tied at 1-1. In the first match played all the way back in Dallas in 2012, Bertens had to retire midway from the match to hand her opponent a win. In 2019, they met again, and this time around Bertens won their China Open round of 16 encounter in three sets.
2019 Semifinalist Bertens Resumes Competitive Tennis
It’s taken her a while but Kiki Bertens will finally be on court again playing in a WTA tournament. And she will be one of the last top-20 players to take to court following the pandemic-induced break when she faces Hercog in the second round on Thursday.
Bertens did play in a couple of exhibition matches during the break but lost both – to Petra Kvitova on grass and Anastasija Sevastova on indoor hard. Both turned out to be straight-set losses which was more an indicator of the less-than-serious nature of the matches and rustiness.
Because before things came to a standstill in March, Bertens had added a 10th WTA title to her kitty this year by winning the St. Petersburg Open and reached the fourth round at the Australian Open where she lost to Garbine Muguruza.
As most players before her have found, resuming after this long a break wouldn’t be easy. Even for a player who loves playing on clay, having won six of her 10 titles on this surface. This includes the Madrid Open last year to go with a French Open semifinal in 2016.
It could have been a lot worse – a clay-courter starting out on hard court or vice-versa and an upset would almost be certain. In case of Bertens, she also has the advantage of facing an opponent whose recent record hasn’t been the best.
Hercog Beats Fellow Slovenian
It was a tough first round battle between Slovenians Hercog and Kaja Juvan and frankly we weren’t sure which way was that match going to head. Hercog was the more experienced of the two but Juvan was the in-form youngster and in the end, it turned out to be a three-setter in which the former came back from a set down to register a win.
Hercog had earlier made it to the quarterfinal of the Istanbul Cup as well, but that has been the extent of her form this year. May be it was a matter of getting into rhythm because of the start-stop nature of the season because the Slovenian had come into 2020 having won her third WTA title and like the previous two that had come on clay too – at Lugano.
There she got past Carla Suarez-Navarro, Sorana Cirstea, Veronika Kudermetova, Fiona Ferro and Iga Swiatek to win the title, winning against opponents, all of whom could pack a punch on their day.
Can she now up her game enough to surprise Bertens though?
Bertens v Hercog Prediction and Tip
Bertens is 8/15 to win this but we will refrain from going after winners in a player’s first match on clay this season. Instead, we anticipate a fighting encounter which goes to the third set or sees a few games.
Tip: Over 21.5 games in the match: 10/11 (bet365)