It was a season of breakthroughs for Bertens, as she made her first quarterfinal at Wimbledon, won the biggest title of her career in Cincinnati, and went on to qualify for her first WTA Finals in singles, where she advanced to the semifinals.
Much to her own relief, Bertens carried that momentum into 2019. She won her first title of the season at St. Petersburg and posted back-to-back Round of 16 showings in Indian Wells and Miami, the best Sunshine Double results of her career. Through the early hardcourt season, Bertens ranks No.2 on tour in Aces (153, behind Karolina Pliskova), 1st Serve Points Won (72.3%, behind Ashleigh Barty), and Service Points Won (62.9%, behind Barty).
As a result of her solid start, Bertens comes into her favorite part of the season already sitting at No.10 in the Porsche Race to Shenzhen.
“It’s different than the last few years, for sure,” Bertens said. “Then, I knew if I did not do well in the clay court season then I would drop out of the Top 50 or something. Now that’s not going to happen so I feel a little bit more freedom.
“But still, a lot of things could happen, you never know. Last year I was quite relaxed still coming here because I knew it was a long clay season and I played well here. So we’ll see.”