Kiki Bertens won her first competition at the WTA Elite Trophy on Tuesday. The Westland was too strong for the Croatian Donna Vekic in a chaotic party in Zhuhai, China: 7-6 (5) and 6-2.
The game took almost two hours to complete, as the game stopped at the end of the first set of minutes due to a mysterious and annoying sound. Moreover, Bertens and Vekic repeatedly complained about spectators in the stands who kept talking during the match. The second operation lasted a lot less with 34 minutes.
27-year-old Bertens bailed against Vekic for her elimination last week in the quarter-finals of the Moscow tournament, where she failed to capture a ticket for the WTA Finals. As a result, she was sentenced to the Elite Trophy, the smaller end-of-year tournament for the tennis players in the sub-top of the ranking.
Bertens is in a group with Vekic (WTA-20) and the Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska (WTA-24), against whom she will face Thursday. In total there are four groups with three players each. The group winners qualify for the semi-finals.
Last year, Bertens made her debut at the WTA Finals, where she then surprisingly reached the semifinals. The leader of Dutch tennis will travel to Shenzhen next week as a reserve player and can therefore still hope to participate.
First set takes almost an hour and a half
The match between Bertens and Vekic, who met each other three times this year, started messy. The number ten and twenty of the world could not convince on their own service and four of the first seven games were only decided after deuce.
At the end of the tiebreak, Bertens made the difference. The number one on the placement list placed two mini-breaks in a row and only needed one setpoint to take the lead in the match. In the second set, she exposed the quality difference with Vekic better.
The Croatian, who had her back treated after the first set, lost her first three service games and initially did not manage to force a breakpoint. With a 5-0 deficit, Vekic still placed a break, but that proved to be a postponement of execution. With a love game, Bertens convincingly decided the game to her advantage.