Are we in for another tense tousle when world no.1 Ashleigh Barty takes on Kiki Bertens for a place in the final?
<div><h2><strong>Ashleigh Barty(1) vs. Kiki Bertens(8)</strong></h2><h2> </h2><p><strong>Saturday, October 5, Beijing</strong><br /><br />Ashleigh Barty hasn´t been at her brilliant best for quite some time. Ever since going back home to Australia post Wimbledon, the world no. 1 has been a bit off. But despite struggling for fitness and peak form, Barty has found a way to win. Despite looking low on energy out on court, the 23-year old has prevailed. Reaching the semifinals in Cincinnati and Wuhan, with a US Open R16 in between, the Aussie is once again back in a semifinal. The going has mostly been tough for Ashleigh here after an impressive straight sets win over the crafty Yulia Putinseva. Home hope Zheng Saisai pushed her to a deciding set, and the world no. 1 had to survive a Kvitovian onslaught to come back from a set down(and a break down in the decider) to oust the Czech ace.<br /><br />If there´s anyone who hasn´t been at her brilliant best lately, it would surely be Kiki Bertens. After a plethora of disappointing results lately the pressure was firmly on the Dutchwoman´s shoulders, locked in an intense Race to Shenzhen. Floundering in her performances and devoid of any confidence, Bertens took a break from long-time coach Raemon Sluiter four weeks ago. That didn´t seem to help whatsoever, as the world no.8 was only 1-3 going into the China Open. However, facing a brutal first round matchup inthe talented Donna Vekic, Bertens came from a set behind and clinched the victory. Powerful Dayana Yastremska looked to be in a position to slay a wounded giant, but the 27-year old easily brushed her aside. The Dutchwoman certainly caught a lucky break against Polona Hercog, with the Slovenian failing to serve out set 1 twice in a row and not taking advantage of her opportunities to lose in three sets. Up against Elina Svitolina however, Bertens was dominant, smashing in 36 winners and let out a massive roar after securing the straight sets win:<br /><br />"I think everything came out..”<br /><br />"I think this week I played some better tennis again," Bertens said, during her post-match press conference. "When you start to play better, get the wins, be in the semifinals, of course also you still need points for Shenzhen, I think then with some pressure and playing better all the time, it's good for me. It says for myself that I was growing a lot over the last few years."<br /><br />This will be the fifth matchup between Barty and Bertens, and if previous head-to-heads are anything to go by, this promises to be a cracker. Barty is a tough matchup for most players on tour, with her ability to mix up heavy aggression with delicate precision, and leads the H2H 4-0. Strong behind her own serve, the Aussie rarely relinquishes that advantage to her opponents. The same thing could be said about Bertens, who has an extremely potent delivery, and is an aggressive player in her own right. Only Karolina Pliskova has been able to smash down more aces on the year than these two women, that have hit 340 and 383 respectively. Both players are exceedingly difficult to break, holding at a 78.6% and 75.8% clip, ranking near the top of the service leaderboards.<br /><br />Despite still seeking her first victory over Barty, Bertens looks to have kicked on to form - finally overcoming the current slump which will relieve her. With her ability on serve, expect the Dutchwoman to keep proceedings close with the world no. 1. Three out of four meetings have gone the distance, often including longer sets. Another long affair seems inevitable, and the posted total of 20.5 games feels a full game too low. With Pinnacle paying 1.80 for that outcome, we don´t hesistate to make a play on the over.<br /><br /><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=155&a=6a145d2b-505f-491b-a70e-2f5f31742828&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Tennis Betting Odds"><em><strong>Best bet: Over 20.5 games at 1.80 (4/5) with [Pinnacle] 2u</strong></em></a></p><h2><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=164&a=f339dce1-88de-4994-ab6a-c24e019bdf3b&f=3" target="_blank"><img alt src="https://cmscdn.staticcache.org/assets/image/0003/1348572/WHC_27064_Updated-In-Play-Tennis-Insurance_1280x480NEW.jpg" style="width:100%" /></a><br /><strong>Dominic Thiem(1) vs. Karen Khachanov(4)</strong></h2><p><strong>Saturday, October 5, Beijing</strong><br /><br />A cloud of doubt was certainly hanging over a young Austrian´s head heading into this tournament. Dominic Thiem´s hard court capabilities have been questioned for years now, and rightfully so with him failing to make much of an impression on the surface. At least as far as the faster hard courts are concerned, with the title this year in Indian Wells and US Open quarterfinal last year played on exceptionally slow courts. Coming into the event with a 0-2 record and 0-4 overall across the last two years on the Asian Swing, Thiem was a shaky number 1 seed. However, it´s been a very encouraging week for the 25-year old, who´s dispatched Richard Gasquet, Zhang Zhizhen and a resurgent Andy Murray without losing a set. The world no. 5 has performed well thus far, dominating behind his first serve and dictating play with his powerful forehand. In his last affair against Murray, Thiem performed flawlessly until double faulting thrice when serving for a 6-2, 6-4 win. Finishing with 35 winners to 16 unforced errors against a stubborn defender is worth praise however.<br /><br />Another player with a cloud of doubt over his head was Karen Khachanov. Througout an inconsistent season, the Russian has struggled his way to a 25-21 record, only a times playing his best tennis. Adding to that is what has surely been an added distraction albeit a joyous one, the 23-year old became a new father a few weeks ago - and was promptly upset by Joao Sousa at home in St. Petersburg. However, Khachanov has been growing in confidence throughout the week by overcoming both Pablo Cuevas and Jeremy Chardy in straight sets. Backing himself with some huge serving, the world no. 9 entered his quarterfinal matchup against Fabio Fognini as the favourite. Karen didn´t even come close to playing his best tennis though, and was promptly outplayed enroute to losing the first set 6-3. Struggling to find his best tennis, what did impress was the Russian´s attitude. Despite being by far the inferior player on court, the 23-year old hung tough, and capitalized on the Italian´s errors to come back to win in three sets. Hitting 19 winners to 33 unforced errors won´t encourage Khachanov though, and needs improving if he is to contend in the semifinal.<br /><br />Though he´s had his fair share of struggles on hard court this season, Dominic Thiem is still playing some very good tennis this week. The same can´t be said for Karen Khachanov. In what is a matchup between two aggressive players, Thiem is the more skilled and experienced of the pair. When allowed time on the ball, he´ll be able to dictate play and get the big Russian on the move enroute to winning the baseline exchanges. We saw just that at Roland Garros, where the world no. 5 easily dispatched Khachanov in straight sets. In faster conditions, the advantage swings to the Russian though, who has the bigger serve and groundstrokes - winning in straight sets at the Paris Masters indoors last year.<br /><br />These courts haven´t been playing overly fast for Thiem though, and an added bonus for the Austrian has been the weather, with the conditions noticeably cooling down as the week has progressed. With the courts slowing down as a result, the 25-year old has been able to impose himself even more on his opponents. The forecast is set to be around 16.5 degrees Celsius at match time, dropping to 14.5 degrees as the match progresses. In slower conditions, Khachanov won´t be able to get as many free points on serve, only managing to win 64% on his first serve points against Fognini in similar conditions today. Against a proficient returner like Thiem, those numbers won´t be enough. It´s quite easy siding with the world no. 5 in this contest, who´s played the better tennis and will enjoy the slower conditions. The -2.5 games pays 1.93 with Pinnacle, and will be our investment here.<br /><br /><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=155&a=6a145d2b-505f-491b-a70e-2f5f31742828&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Tennis Betting Odds"><em><strong>Best bet: Thiem -2.5 games at 1.93 (93/100) with [Pinnacle] 1.5u</strong></em></a></p></div>