World no.171 CiCi Bellis will play in her first clay-court match in three years when she faces fellow American Bernarda Pera in the first round of the 2020 French Open on Monday, September 28. The match will begin at 11 am local time (10 am BST or 5 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this CiCi Bellis v Bernarda Pera match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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CiCi Bellis v Bernarda Pera Head to Head
These two players have never met before this.
Bellis Returns To Clay For First Time in Three Years
It has been a while since CiCi Bellis played clay-court tennis, or any tennis for that matter. Having risen as high as world no.35 in 2017, and taking the tennis world by storm a little over four years ago when she burst onto the scene at the 2016 US Open, the 21-year-old has been through hell in the last two years.
Bellis underwent multiple surgeries on her right wrist and fractured elbows. She had four operations in all. She would chronicle her injury struggles in a candid Instagram post last year, admitting she was unsure she would ever return to tennis.
The rehabilitation process was one of the most chastening experiences for a player who was once touted as America’s next big thing when at 15, she upset Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the 2014 US Open.
The 21-year-old was just four tournaments into her comeback when the WTA tour was temporarily paused due the coronavirus pandemic. But Bellis has picked up where she left off, backing up her quarterfinal run at Lexington last month by qualifying and reaching the second round of the Cincinnati Open. She earned a wildcard at the US Open where she made the second round.
Bellis enters the French Open main draw with a protected ranking and a protective metal plate in her surgically-repaired hand. She will play in her first clay-court match in over three years.
Clay Remains Pera’s Forte
Bernarda Pera’s best surface is clay, having won over 50% of her matches throughout her career on the surface. Despite molding her game to that of Kvitova, she lacks the natural power that comes so easy for the Czech to generate with her flat-hitting left hand.
While it has been extremely difficult to break down the barriers on the WTA main tour for the Croatian-born American, she has done most of her good work on the ITF circuit. She won a clay-court ITF 100K title in Trnava last season and combined with a few decent results at tour-level where she made semifinals in Prague, Lausanne and Jurmala to peak at no.63 in the rankings.
Pera has been in and out of the world’s top-60 this year, but she is on course to achieve a year-end ranking inside the top-50 for the first time if she can record a strong end to the abbreviated tennis season.
However, since the tour’s resumption she has won only two matches in five tournaments which is cause for alarm, but she has a chance to bounce back on her favorite surface in Paris.
Bellis v Pera Prediction and Tip
Bellis’ injury struggles have certainly titled the odds in Pera’s favor in this one and despite failing to win a match on clay in the past two weeks, Pera should fancy her chances of reaching the second round.
Tip: Pera to win: (bet365)