WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇩🇪 (1) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka
Two of the pre-tournament favourites will collide in a must win match from the red group when Angelique Kerber takes on Naomi Osaka on Wednesday. Kerber and Osaka both suffered surprising 3-set losses to start their Singapore campaigns meaning the loser of this match is all but eliminated whilst the winner still has a good chance to progress to the semi-finals. Kerber has had the better of this match-up but Osaka has generally been in the better form of the two, this looks like a close one to call.
The top seeded Angelique Kerber arrived in Singapore in fairly poor form but was seemingly on track to start her Singapore campaign with a big win. It wasn’t to be as Kerber let a 6-1 2-0 lead slide in a 6-1 3-6 4-6 loss to Singapore debutant Kiki Bertens. Kerber was uncharacteristically errant in the big moments and really struggled behind her serve towards the later stages of the match. Kerber will be keen to rebound against Osaka, an opponent she has done well against in recent times.
Naomi Osaka was the form player heading into this event and the outright favourite to win the tournament. However, Osaka made a disappointing start in her Singapore debut, beaten by Sloane Stephens 5-7 6-4 1-6. Osaka was never able to find a high level on a consistent basis and produced an extremely poor serving performance. Osaka faced a whopping 19 break points and was broken on 7 occasions, far, far from the type of numbers we are used to seeing from Osaka over the last few months. Osaka will need a drastic improvement against a problematic opponent when she faces Kerber.
Kerber holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Osaka. It was Osaka who shocked Kerber in their first career meeting at the US Open in 2017. Since then Kerber has won their last 3 matches, all in straight sets. Their most recent match took place at Wimbledon earlier this year, Kerber won that match 6-2 6-4.