Welcome to the first main draw selection for WTA Palermo.
For those unaware of where Palermo sits in Italy, keen tennis observer @jwallmizzou has put together this map of the events for the week. As the tournaments start to come back, these maps will provide a nice reference point to help improve awareness around travel between weeks, and just generally how the tennis will look for the week. Make sure you follow him on Twitter!
Just the one play for today from Palermo. If you have any questions, myself and Noops covered off all the matches from Palermo in our Periscope earlier today:
My outright preview is now up on The Hub at Betfair as well for those interested! I appreciate quality discussion and feedback, and will most certainly take it on board moving forward with the extra free content available.
Sakkari vs Pliskova (Approx 04:30am AEST)
I will keep this preview quite brief, as it does tie in a little bit with my outright preview, where I am a big fan of Maria Sakkari making a deep run this week.
I think this is a very nice match-up for Sakkari on clay, especially in the night session where the court may not play as fast as it will in the heat of the day. Sakkari has put together a very solid training block in clay in Monte Carlo in preparation for this week, and although we haven’t seen her active in the exhibition world of late, we know from her fitness level and general work ethic that she will be ready to go physically for the rigors of top level tennis.
The success of Pliskova in exhibitions was largely against lower ranked players, or those who perhaps aren’t as suited to the clay. In some of those wins, Pliskova was required to serve at an incredibly high level in many break point situations to maintain her advantage. Against an incredibly solid return of serve in Sakkari, I think this match-up is tough for the Czech.
Pliskova will need to redline consistently to be able to work her way through the defences of Sakkari, and that is such a tough ask off limited competitive tennis. Sakkari will be able to exploit the movement of Pliskova in my opinion, and looks to be value at the -4 game handicap. It is worth noting that a number of bookmakers still have a decent price available for -3.5 games as well, however for fairness this will be recorded at -4 games on the spreadsheet.