Bienvenue à Lyon! European tennis is back!!! They’ve run out of different names for tournaments in Melbourne so some of the women are off to Lyon, France to play a WTA250 on hard courts indoors. Although the big names are playing in Qatar, we have some of the best young tennis players Europe has to offer AND an Instagram model from North America! In all seriousness, some of my favorite players are in this event and it’s going to be a great opportunity to see if a few women can make a deep run in a tournament at the WTA level. Let’s look at each quarter and see if we can find any value in the outright betting markets.
Ekaterina’s Quarter to Lose
*See the glossary at the end for explanation of table headers*
Ekaterina Alexandrova could have made the main draw in Doha with all the withdraws, but likely expected to have to qualify when deciding where she wanted to play this week. Instead of attempting the 3 rounds of qualifying to face a much tougher field, she came to Lyon where she is the best player in the tournament. To make things ever more appealing, the conditions are perfect for her game. We’re indoors and the courts should be fast which suit her strong serve and powerful game. Ekaterina will face some resistance in quarterfinals and the final, but expect her to be strong favorite in all other matches. At 3.5 to 1 she rightfully leads the field in the betting markets, but is that value? I’m honestly not sure. Projecting her path and prices, a ML parlay would be in the range of 3-1, so, it’s close, but I’m passing.
Camila Giorgi is always worth a mention in these events as she only has to redline for 5 matches. These courts pair well with game, but as implied above, I don’t expect her to make it past the quarterfinals if she doesn’t lose sooner. Camila presents the biggest challenge to the favorite before the finals and could certainly find the level needed to beat Alexandrova, but I’m also certainly not counting on that to happen if she even beats the winner of the best 1st round match of the quarter. Heck, she could even lose her mind and somehow bow out to Viktoria Kuzmova in the first round.
Sorana Cirstea and Nina Stojanovic are two more players that will enjoy the fast conditions this week. Although the WTA level numbers you see above aren’t overly impressive, consider the small sample size and look at each’s history at lower levels. They would be intriguing picks to win this event if they were in any other quarter.
Timea Babos, Varvara Gracheva, and any qualifier are just fodder for the rest.
Who Can Find Their Form in the 2nd Quarter?
Kristina Mladenvoic showed brief moments of competence and quality play at the Australian Open. Perhaps we should overlook her four losses this year to Garbiñe Mugurza, Jil Teichmann, and Jessica Pegula(X2)? Those are 3 strong opponents. She has Mihaela Buzarnescu in round 1 and likely Katarina Zavatska in round 2. Neither woman should present too much of a challenge if Mladenovic is not playing poorly. That puts her in the quarterfinals! As nice as all of that sounds, I can’t rationally bet on it happening. Maybe 2020 was a complete write off for her and she really has just lost to quality opponents this year, but even typing all this I feel dumb. Sure, she could find some comfort in her home country in a manageable quarter, but I’m not putting my money on that happening. You can. I don’t think you shouldn’t, but you’re an adult, so, do whatever you want.
Normally, I would be licking my chops for some outright action on Paula Badosa. Her first 2 matches ought to be a breeze and I really hope to bet on her against Mladenovic in the quarterfinal. But, sadly, at the time of year when most players begin to find their form, Paula has played only 4 matches this season, got covid-19, and was therefore subject to the longest quarantine in Melbourne. This meant she was away from a tennis court for over 2 weeks beforeh a 3 set loss to Ludmilla Samsonova. That happened over 2 weeks ago. I can’t bet her in the outright markets, but I’ll be watching her matches to see how her form is. I may look for an outright ticket after the first 2 matches, but will likely stick to betting her match to match.
As you may have figured out by now, that means that we are tossing aside the chances of any qualifier, Stefanie Voegele, Irina Marie Bara, and Harmony Tan along with the aforementioned Zavatska and Buzarnescu.
A Quarter Defined by First Round Matchups
I know, that’s kind of a lame premise, but stick with me. If you’ve read my previews in the past you might remember a section titled with an expletive expressing my anger at the draw for putting certain players together in round 1. That’s essentially what happened in this entire quarter. You’ve read about how soft the second quarter is and not to ruin the surprise, but the fourth quarter is even worse. Instead, we somehow have all the fun names marooned in the first quarter with the clear favorite or subject to beat up on one another here. Three of the four first round matches feature players who could run through this quarter and all the way to final.
Arantza Rus has played well in these smaller indoor events, but I’m going to be opposing her with Xiyu Wang. Rus hasn’t won a match this season and one of those losses was to Wang. This presents us some value in the outright markets as Rus is 20-1, but Wang is 50-1. I’ll be playing Wang at that price and given those numbers as an underdog in round 1.
Greetje Minnen should have an advantage on these courts with her serve. Katarzyna Kawa is a player that is fun to bet at lower levels, but plays better on slower surfaces. Greetje is a heavy favorite in this match and for good reason. She is the better suited of the 2 for the surface and generally better than Kawa. Minnen is only 20-1 to win the tournament and I won’t be wagering on her at that price. In fact, I’ll look to oppose her in round 2 with whomever wins the match above her.
Vera Lapko and a qualifier is a match you can skip whenever it happens and I’m going to skip now.
The final match of the quarter should be a lot of fun although it makes me most angry that we’ll lose one of Caroline Garcia or Oceane Dodin in the first round. Garcia would love to turn the clock back to 2017 or 2018, but still shows a flash of brilliance every now and then. She made the quarterfinals here last year and could find some comfort and form in her home country. Dodin should be thrilled to play on these courts indoors. In any other spot in the draw I would gladly play her at 12-1 to lift the trophy, but here she sits. I’ll back Dodin as an underdog in round 1 and look to play her and possibly even Garcia on the outright market after this match.
An Absolute Mess
Although this entire quarter is a write off, I will waste a few sentences. Alize Cornet in her home country could take advantage of her draw and win the quarter. Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Genie Bouchard will play what could be the best or worst match of the week. Fiona Ferro’s game is not suited at all for these courts and she’s likely to make a quarterfinal given how poor the qualifying field is.
0.25U on Wang at 50-1 or better
0.5U on the winner of Dodin/Garcia at 8 to 1 or better after round 1
GLOSSARY OF DATA HEADINGS
Avg Rk – This is the average rank of opponent’s faced over that period.
Avg Spread – This is the average games more(or less) the player wins than their opponent. For example, 1.3 means that player averages 1.3 games per match more than their opponent.
Avg Total – This is the average total games in matches this player has played
Hold% – % of total games won on service
Break% – % of total games won on return