After six days of entertaining clay-court tennis, we finally arrive in the final of the 2019 TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup Petra Martic vs Marketa Vondrousova. Both finalists were really the best players of the week, but which one of them is more likely to clinch the title on Sunday?
Marketa Vondrousova has really been outdoing herself recently. She’s played a pretty limited schedule as here, in Istanbul, she’s playing just her fifth tournament of the year. However, after a second-round defeat at the Australian Open (to a player you might have heard about, Petra Martic), she finished runner-up in Budapest, reached back-to-back quarterfinals at the Sunshine Double and reached the final here in stunning fashion. Her streak consists of wins over players like Simona Halep, Jelena Ostapenko or Daria Kasatkina. This week in Istanbul, she made her way through one of the toughest draws possible and hasn’t lost a set defeating Ajla Tomljanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Lara Arrubarrena and Barbora Strycova. The left-handed Czech seems pretty much unstoppable right now.
Matches in Istanbul didn’t go as smoothly for Petra Martic. After winning in over two hours against both Tamara Zidansek and Ana Bogdan, she then played in the most entertaining match of the whole week against Kristina Mladenovic, which finished with a third-set tie-break after more than 3 hours and 19 minutes of play. Martic then got a bit of rest as her semifinal opponent Margarita Gasparyan retired after going a set down. Although the Croat hasn’t been running as hot as Vondrousova this year, she reached a Premier tournament semifinal in Charleston, defeating the likes of Belinda Bencic and Amanda Anisimova. Clay seems to be where her huge topspin strokes work the best and this might be a great chance for her to finally capture a WTA title. She has lost two finals before (Kuala Lumpur 2012 and Bucharest 2018), so will third time be the charm?
It’s very hard to pick against Vondrousova right now. She’s been one of the hottest players on tour in March and shows no signs of slowing down. Petra Martic won that second-round encounter at the Australian Open but it was a rather close match. The Croat might also experience the pressure of getting her first tournament win, whereas Vondrousova has already got it out of the way (Biel 2017). On current form, we have to assume that the 19-year-old Czech will once again show her ridiculous potential and claim her second career title.
Pick: Vondrousova in 2