Is anyone else surprised by the Tianjin Open finalists? No doubt, neither Rebecca Peterson nor Heather Watson were on anyone’s radar for a deep run, much less reaching the final. Through grit and determination, here they are. Now, here’s the question: who lifts the trophy?
Tianjin Open Final Prediction
Head to head: Peterson 1-0 Watson
Rebecca Peterson’s path to the final has been anything but straightforward. In fact, other than the Round of 16 clash with Wang Xin Yu who retired in the second set, the Swede has been pushed to a decider in each match.
Against Venus Williams, Peterson quickly claimed the first set 6-4. As expected Venus roared back to take the second set forcing the decider. Eventually, the American superstar fell to the Swede in the third set. In a match with 14 service breaks, Peterson find a way to hold serve when it mattered most.
Against China’s Wang Yafan, Peterson dropped the opening set in a tight 7-5 tiebreak. A nice recovery by the World #59 saw her claim the next two sets 6-4, 6-2. In the 24-year-old’s semifinal, an invigorated Ons Jabeur dominated with a 6-0 win, a scoreline which wasn’t indicative of the level of play. Peterson continued to show her determination. After Jabeur moved out to an early lead in the third set, Peterson rallied to win six of the last eight games to earn her second 2019 trip to the final.
Perhaps inspired by her Nanchang win last month, Peterson is reaching another level. She’s powering through her shots and timing the ball so well, leaving opponents little opportunity to answer. Indeed, it may be a focus and a belief she’s lacked until recently.
It’s been three years since Heather Watson reached a WTA Tour level final. The British #2 will be competing for her fourth WTA title, the first since March 2016.
Calm and considered play has led Watson to the Tianjin Open final. Using a combination of court opening power, a disrupting slice and strategic shotmaking, the Brit has racked up more wins during this tournament than she has in every 2019 tournament combined. With her stellar play, Watson leaped back into the Top 100.
Watson exited an in-form Veronika Kudermetova to reach the finals. A lengthy quarterfinal clash against Poland’s Magda Linette, lasting more than three hours could have depleted Watson’s reserves. Yet, the Briton showed no fatigue. Closing out the first set in 25 minutes, Watson broke the Kudermetova serve twice giving her a 6-1 first set. Watson quickly moved out to a 4-2 lead in the second set and sealed the win 6-4 in the second set. What many though would be a struggle for the Brit was a decisive semifinal victory.
You have two players who obviously saved their best for the end of the year. Both Peterson and Watson are finding exceptional form on the fast courts of Tianjin. This should be a competitive, engaging final won by the narrowest of margins. I think we’ll see Watson looking to claim court position and stepping in to blast winners of both wings.
Prediction: Watson in 3