Can Elina Svitolina turn it up a notch in China, chasing her first title of 2019?
<div><div><h2><strong>Yulia Putinseva vs. Elina Svitolina(2)</strong></h2><p><strong>Thursday, September 12, Zhengzhou</strong><br /><br />Elina Svitolina continues to make large strides in her career, especially in the Majors, where success had largely eluded the Ukrainian in the past. After making back-to-back semifinals at Wimbledon and recently the US Open, the 24-year old will be keen to pick up her first title of 2019. Considering the fact that Svitolina won 9 titles across the last two years, it´s a bit surprising that the title drought has gone on for this long. Injury has been a factor though, with a knee limiting the new world no. 3´s level of play for several months post Indian Wells in March. That lack of early season tennis has seen her enter a dramatic surge in form in the latter parts of the year, and the 24-year old shone brightly at the Flushing Meadows. Always an elite counterpuncher, what´s stood out is the added layer of aggressiveness and offensive weapons that Svitolina has brought to her game. The serve is much improved, and the Ukranian now also has the ability to step into the court and take control of rallies from very early on.<br /><br />Yulia Putinseva is a player who has made great strides of her own, steadily climbing back up towards the career high ranking of 27, currently ranked 36th. This year has been a solid one, with a Sydney quarterfinal, a Miami last 16 appearance along with a Nürnberg title to her name. Rather unsurprisingly, that title came on the red dirt, where the 24-year old Kazakh often does her best work - but she isn´t to be underestimated. Adept at upsetting big names, Putinseva has taken down: Sloane Stephens, Belinda Bencic, Anastasija Sevastova, Naomi Osaka(x2), and Aryna Sabalenka at the recent US Open. All of these victories have come off the dirt, and the world no. 36 has a very crafty game. Not heavily reliant on power, Putinseva often frustrates her opponents into errors by slicing and dicing with great variety. She´s also had the added benefit of playing herself into form here in Zhengzhou, overcoming Tamara Zidansek in three sets in round 1.<br /><br />This matchup pits two shrewd counterpunchers against each other, and it´s the Ukranian ace who holds the overwhelming H2H advantage. Out of the pair´s four contested matchups at the top level, Svitolina has won all of them. Furthermore, only in the lone non-hard court meeting, in the 2015 Roland Garros matchup, did she drop a set against her Kazakh opponent. Though the Ukranian will come into this match with a rest disadvantage, she will want to be locked in from the get go. After winning the WTA Finals last year, Elina ranks only 10th in the race to Shenzhen, and is in need of good results to qualify once more. In this matchup, she´s also the player capable of stepping into the court and dictating points, whereas Putinseva must more often rely on her opponent´s errors. Svitolina has the stronger serve, especially with recent improvements, and leads the hold/break ratio with a solid 7%. It´s tough seeing past another Ukranian victory in this particular matchup, and Svitolina should win with a bit to spare in this one. At 1.86 with Pinnacle, the -4.5 games provides an interesting option and will be our approach in this tousle.<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"><strong><em>Best bet: Elina Svitolina -4.5 games at 1.86 (43/50) with [Pinnacle] 1u</em></strong></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 /><br /><strong>Kiki Bertens(3) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic</strong></h2><h2> </h2><p><strong>Thursday, September 12, Zhengzhou</strong><br /><br />Despite a season highlighted by two titles and another two final appearances, Kiki Bertens is sliding through the rankings. Starting the year ranked world no. 9, the Dutch ace surged to world no. 4, but has since slid down to number 8 again. Though by far most comfortable on the red dirt, as showcased by the prestigious Madrid title, Kiki´s solid all-court game should translate well to most surfaces. However, since pulling out of Roland Garros due to illness, inconsistency has plauged the 27-year old. Bertens has since been upset twice over in the Hertogenbosch grass final in her home country (losing despite a 6-0 first set and 5 Championship points), and in the Palermo final on the red dirt. Though losing to tough opposition in Bianca Andreescu, Venus Williams and Julia Görges, failing to win more than three matches during the North American hard court swing was certainly disappointing.<br /><br />Kiki will have to be on her watch in this match, as the powerful Ajla Tomljanovic is her opponent. The Australian hits like a truck and can hit through any opponent on her day, but is incredibly inconsistent. When the cannon is misfiring however, she is vulnerable, and we´ve seen that in form of a multitude of lopsided set losses - and over half of Ajla´s 22 losses this season coming in straight sets.The 26-year old started the season well, making the Brisbane final and the Hua Hin final. In the latter, the Aussie should well have won, but failed twice to serve out the match and close the doors on Dayana Yastremska. Since then though, apart from a strong semifinal showing in Rabat, it´s been rare to see Tomljanovic stringing together wins and gathering momentum. The world no. 46 came into this tournament in poor form, failing to win back-to-back main draw matches since Nottingham in June. However, the Aussie was dominant in her opening round drubbing of Lesley Kerkhove, winning 6-2, 6-0.<br /><br />Despite a disappointing string of results for the world no. 8, Bertens can take confidence in knowing she´s undefeated in this matchup. Holding a 2-0 H2H lead, the dutchwoman should be the strong favourite to prevail in this contest. However, Tomljanovic has the advantage of having played a match here, and has also been a difficult matchup for Bertens in the past. Both earlier matchups have gone to a deciding set, and in current form it´s likely that the dutchwoman may once again find difficulty in putting her lower ranked opponent away. With a posted total line of 20.5, it looks likely that we once again see a prolonged tousle here, and at 1.86 with Pinnacle - that option appeals.<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 1.86 (43/50) with [Pinnacle] 1u</strong></em></a></p></div></div>