WTA Brisbane quarterfinal preview: Kiki Bertens vs Naomi Osaka
Photo: Tertius Pickard

What looks to be the best of the quarterfinal matchups on paper sees sixth seed Kiki Bertens face third seed Naomi Osaka for a spot in the Brisbane International semifinals. 

Both players have been tested in their runup to this last eight encounter with the winner facing either Alison Riske or defending champion Karolina Pliskova in the last four.

Bertens looks to build on impressive 2019

Coming off of a year that saw her win Premier-level titles in St. Petersburg and Madrid as well as reach three other finals and a career-high ranking of number four in May, Bertens should be in contention for many of the top titles in 2020.

So far in Brisbane, the Dutchwoman has survived a pair of three-setters first taking out Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 despite the Ukrainian committing only five errors and following that up by outlasting Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 in two hours, three minutes.

Osaka seeks 14th straight win as 2020 begins

It was largely an up-and-down year for Osaka. After winning her second straight major at the Australian Open, the Japanese star endured some struggles until finding her form late in 2019 with titles in Osaka and Beijing.

Osaka has started slowly, but finished strong in her first two rounds/Photo: Chris Hyde
Osaka has started slowly, but finished strong in her first two rounds/Photo: Chris Hyde

Her first two rounds have been tough, going the distance against both Maria Sakkari and Sofia Kenin, winning 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3 and 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-1, respectively to reach the final eight. 

Head-to-head

This is the fourth scheduled meeting between Bertens and Osaka. Technically, the sixth seed has won two of the three previous matches, but neither were completed. At the 2018 WTA Finals, Bertens won the first set 6-3 before Osaka retired and she gave the Dutchwoman a walkover in Rome last year. The only time they have finished a full match was back in 2016 in Acapulco, won by Osaka 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.

Who will win?

Both ladies have been pushed to the limits in their first two rounds. The difference in that regard is that Osaka closed out Sakkari and (especially) Kenin fairly easily while Yastremska nearly came from 5-0 down in the third set and Kontaveit was two games away from winning against Bertens.

Osaka's serve has looked incredibly sharp so far, firing 17 aces against Kenin and that will give her the ability to win free points against Bertens while the Dutchwoman, not lacking for power in her own right, will want to get the better of the long baseline rallies.

In the end, this match will likely go the distance and feature some incredible points, but Osaka has more weapons and she should prevail in a close affair.

Prediction: Osaka in three sets

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