Caroline Garcia vs Kiki Bertens live streaming, preview and tips: Resolute Garcia aces French Open semifinalist Bertens in the Madrid Open semifinals

Hannah Wilks in WTA 10 May 2018
  • Seventh seed Caroline Garcia faces Charleston champion Kiki Bertens in the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open
  • Garcia vs Bertens Madrid Open tennis is live from Madrid on Friday at 3pm local/2pm BST
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify) 
Caroline Garcia (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Seventh seed Caroline Garcia is just one win from a first Mutua Madrid Open title – but she’ll have to get that win in a tough semifinal against the in-form clay specialist Kiki Bertens.

Caroline Garcia vs Kiki Bertens Madrid Open tennis is streamed live from Madrid on Friday at 3pm local/2pm BST (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify). Watch and bet on tennis live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis
Either Caroline Garcia or Kiki Bertens will make their first Mutua Madrid Open final on Friday, but it’s difficult to predict which it will be as these two rapidly improving and maturing players face off in a promising semifinal.

Garcia, the only seeded player remaining in the bottom half of the draw and the second-highest seed remaining full stop behind sixth seed Karolina Pliskova, has quietly played her way through to the final four in fairly clinical fashion and must now realize that there is a huge opportunity awaiting her in Madrid. The Frenchwoman won her first Premier Mandatory title on hard courts in Beijing last autumn as part of the remarkable late-season surge that took her into the top 10, but whereas that was a dramatic run fueled by having nothing to lose, her form so far in Madrid has been crisp, controlled and quietly confident – and thanks to having not dropped a set, she is into the semifinals with plenty of physical and emotional energy in reserve.

Although her two biggest titles so far, Wuhan and Beijing, came on hard courts and her tennis is effective on any surface, Garcia has a deep affinity to clay and the change of surfaces has definitely revived a slightly underwhelming start to the season. A semifinalist in Stuttgart two weeks ago where she beat Maria Sharapova and Elina Svitolina, Garcia has stayed firm while other top seeds – including Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko and Caroline Wozniacki – in her half of the draw have suffered shock defeats; and that’s impressive when you consider that her opponents have been quite challenging, from former runner-up Dominika Cibulkova to world no. 12 Julia Goerges and home favourite Carla Suarez Navarro in the quarterfinals.
Indeed, it was actually Petra Martic in the second round who gave Garcia the biggest scare, as the French player lost focus in the second set and saw a 4-0 lead erased before she recovered in the nick of time to close it out in two. Garcia spoke afterwards of the need to improve and to my mind that’s what she’s done judging by her quarterfinal performance against Suarez Navarro. Facing a local favourite beloved by the crowd and who has been roared on to two emotional three-set victories already this week, Garcia was almost clinical, serving brilliantly – she landed 70% of first serves and won 76% of points behind them – and with her forehand at times almost seeming laser-guided. She put pressure on Suarez Navarro’s serve from the beginning, broke quickly and although she was broken late in the second set, she rapidly re-established the break and served out the 6-2, 6-3 win.

‘It's never easy to play someone like Carla, who is playing well in Spain. The fans were cheering for her. She was in confidence after the two matches she had,’ Garcia said afterwards. ‘It was difficult conditions. I had to be focused on myself and try to play good and improve from yesterday. I was solid enough to win in two sets.’

Kiki Bertens (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Garcia was able to dictate so much of the play against Suarez Navarro, and her main concern in the match was executing at a high enough level – which she did, absolutely. But her semifinal opponent is an entirely different challenge: Someone who can go toe-to-toe with Garcia for power, and who is discovering new dimensions of confidence and match-management in herself. 

Kiki Bertens is probably best known for her run to the French Open semifinals in 2016 when the Dutch player put together a 12-match winning streak, winning the Nurnberg title as a qualifier before making it to the final four in Paris where Serena Williams ended her run. The 26-year-old player was again a fairly significant presence on clay in 2017, reaching the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, the quarterfinals in Madrid and defending her Nurnberg title – but she lost in the second round of the French Open to Cici Bellis, and barely won a match once clay season was over. 

Consistency, it should be clear, is not Bertens’s strong point, and before the transition to clay she had won only three matches at seven events played throughout the first quarter of 2018. But then came the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, on green clay to be sure but clay regardless – at least judging by Bertens’s results there: She beat Alize Cornet, Madison Keys and Julia Goerges to claim the Premier-level title for the loss of just one set. 

Bertens suffered a one-sided loss to Karolina Pliskova in the first round of Stuttgart, but it doesn’t seem to have dented the confidence she gained from that Charleston run, judging by her results in Madrid. The Dutch player didn’t drop a set in victories over Maria Sakkari, last year’s semifinalist Anastasija Sevastova and world no. 2 Caroline Wozniacki, and when she dropped the first set to Maria Sharapova I Thursday’s quarterfinals, she didn’t panic. She regrouped, started playing a bit more patiently, and wore down the 2014 champion over three sets. 

‘Bertens always plays her best on clay, I think. She likes clay. She's moving very well on this surface. She's using the topspin on serve and forehand well,’ Garcia said of her semifinal opponent.

Bertens owns a 2-0 advantage against Garcia, having beaten her in an ITF event in 2011 – too distant to be particularly relevant – and, more damningly, 6-4, 6-2 on clay during a Fed Cup tie in April 2016. Can Garcia get her first win over the Dutch player? Bertens has improved hugely in recent months, with a degree of patience and point construction and variety in her game that’s rarely been there and which enhances the pounding baseline power she’s always had enormously. Against that you have to measure Garcia’s own improvement, her increased confidence. A serving performance like the one she turned in against Suarez Navarro is essential, but I do believe the seventh seed can win this semifinal. She’s played like a woman on a mission thus far in Madrid, and it’s taken her within reach of the final.

Garcia vs Bertens Madrid Open tennis is live from Madrid on Friday at 3pm local/2pm BST. Watch and bet on the match live at bet365 > live streaming > tennis > Caroline Garcia vs Kiki Bertens (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify) 

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Caroline Garcia vs Kiki Bertens live streaming, preview and tips: Resolute Garcia aces French Open semifinalist Bertens in the Madrid Open semifinals

Caroline Garcia vs Kiki Bertens live streaming, preview and tips for the Mutua Madrid Open semifinal match on Friday 11 May 2018: Seventh seed Garcia must end the run of Charleston champion Bertens to reach the WTA Madrid final. We preview the match and show you how you can watch the match live and bet in-play.

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