Aleksandra Krunic has a chance to claim her maiden WTA singles title this Sunday when she faces off against Kirsten Flipkens in the Rosmalen final. The 25-year-old has reached just one Tour-level final in her career, losing in last September to Zhang Shuai at the Guangzhou Open. Flipkens has tasted success at the highest level, albeit on a solitary occasion and way back in 2012. Since then she has appeared in just two WTA finals, one of which was at this very event back in 2013. Who will come out on top?
These two have met just once so far in their careers, but whether it bears much relevance to Sunday’s match up is debatable. The match in question took place back in 2016 when Serbia and Belgium faced off in the Fed Cup, Krunic won in two tight sets, taking the match 6-4 7-6. That match, however, was on clay. With the Rosmalen final taking place on grass, the only thing Krunic can take from that victory is confidence.
Path to the final
Krunic had a relatively straightforward first few rounds at this event, but made her way into the finals by the barest of margins after a close semifinal. She started out the tournament with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Valentini Grammatikopoulou, before disposing of Bibiane Schools 7-5 6-2. She came up against Veronica Kudermetova in the quarters, winning 6-2 6-2, before facing her toughest challenge of the tournament in the semis against Coco Vandeweghe. Vandeweghe took the first set 2-6 before Krunic escaped with the tightest of three set victories, 2-6 7-6 7-6.
Flipkens’ tournament has followed a relatively similar theme. She started off with an easy 6-3 6-0 win over Anna Kalinskaya, before being challenged in the second round by Kiki Bertens. She escaped that match a 6-4 6-7 6-1 winner, before defeating Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Flipkens came up against young Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova in her semifinal, where she managed to earn herself a tight 7-5 6-7 6-4 win.
How do they match up?
Expect plenty of extended rallies in this match. Neither woman has a particularly powerful game, though Flipkens does serve-and-volley with relative regularity and Krunic is able to generate more pace than her diminutive stature would suggest. In general, however, Flipkens relies on a game which has very few major weaknesses and few obvious strengths other than her impressive feel at the net.
Krunic, at just 163cm and 53kg, is particularly fleet of foot, and forces her opponents to play a number of extra shots to earn a winner. She tends to play much of her game from behind the baseline, but she is capable of stepping forward and producing some big winners. Flipkens’ game won’t force her too deep, but Krunic will still likely spend much of the match scrambling to stay in points. Fortunately, that will probably suit her.
Flipkens might have the experience to get things done against the younger Krunic, but the Serbian had an impressive win against Vandeweghe and appears to be in very good form. With her speed around the court, Flipkens will struggle to generate winners off the ground. This will be a close one, but it will be the 25-year-old Serbian who will get things done to win her maiden Tour-level title in three sets.
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