WTA Berlin Tennis Picks, Predictions: Little to Separate Jabeur & Bencic (June 19)
Photo by Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images. Pictured: Belinda Bencic
Ons Jabeur vs. Belinda Bencic
|Time||9:30 a.m. ET|
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It’s been a fantastic week of tennis in Berlin, and we’re down to the final match of the singles tournament.
World No. 4 Ons Jabeur takes on World No. 17 Belinda Bencic in the pair’s third meeting this season. Bencic got the win in Charleston, while Jabeur got her revenge in Madrid.
How will their first-ever matchup on grass go? Read below for my analysis.
Jabeur Starts Out Strong on the Grass
Jabeur is playing her first grass-court tournament of the season, and she already looks very comfortable on the surface. In the semifinals, Jabeur defeated Coco Gauff 7-6(4), 6-2.
Against Gauff, Jabeur won 76% of her first-serve points while putting 66% of her first serves into play. Overall, Jabeur won 71% of her service points. On return, Jabeur did a great job attacking Gauff’s weaker second serve, winning 68% of her second-serve return points and breaking Gauff four times.
Jabeur has won at least 65% of her first-serve points and over 60% of her overall service points in every match this week, doing a great job of hitting her spots on serve.
And on her return games, she’s won over 55% of her second-serve points and broke serve at least three times during every match in Berlin.
Jabeur’s game suits the grass well. She hits her spots on serve, leading to plenty of free points and short balls. And the Tunisian controls the baseline very well with her big, accurate forehand.
In addition, Jabeur’s backhand slice stays low to the court and out of opponent’s strike zones. She has great touch in terms of drop shots, but she also possesses a potent net game.
It’s no surprise, then, that Jabeur is 53-16 in her career on grass and made the Wimbledon quarterfinals last season.
Bencic Fighting Hard on the Grass This Week
Belinda Bencic is playing impressive grass-court tennis this week. The Swiss had to recover from a set deficit to defeat Maria Sakkari 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4.
Bencic won 73% of her first serves against Sakkari, hitting 70% of her first serves into play. Bencic was broken twice in the first set, but won her last 13 service games of the match, saving all six break points she faced in the second and third sets.
And on return, Bencic really made an effort to play offense on Sakkari’s second serve, winning 50% of her returns. Even when Bencic lost a point on Sakkari’s second serve, she was constantly sending a message that she was going to continue to attack.
It’s this mindset that allowed Bencic to generate 19 break points in the match.
None of Bencic’s opponents in Berlin won more than 50% of their second serves against the Swiss’ return game. Bencic has generated 50 break-point chances during her four matches in Berlin so far.
Bencic has needed to be this good on return, as she’s played three sets in every match this week. The fact that Bencic has won all four matches in three sets shows an excellent fighting spirit.
Bencic is 53-23 as a professional on grass and has looked very comfortable on the surface this season, going 6-1 so far in 2022. She absorbs pace very well and can send the ball back with her flat groundstrokes very effectively.
Bencic understands how to play on grass and can fire winners into tight openings. She also will move forward when the right moment presents itself and has an effective serve to win her free points.
This is a fascinating matchup between two players who know how to compete on the grass. Both have strong serves, powerful groundstrokes and are smart about when they approach the net.
Jabeur’s backhand slice and drop shots will be effective, but Bencic does a great job of controlling the baseline and will not let Jabeur dictate easily from the baseline. This will make it harder for Jabeur to effectively use her backhand slice and drop shots.
Bencic and Jabeur have played twice this year and have gone three sets each time. In addition, as mentioned before, Bencic has gone three sets in every match this week.
It’s hard to see this match being quick, in either direction.
Pick: Over 21.5 games (-135)
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