Please note: Since posting this preview, Marie Bouzkova has withdrawn from the tournament, voiding this selection.
Bienvenidos a Monterrey! It is our second consecutive week with WTA 250 tennis in Mexico as most of the field from Guadalajara took a short flight to Monterrey. Most of the bigger names are taking this week off in preparation for the WTA 1000 event in Miami. Don’t fret, because we still have a field of talented, young players who should almost all be focused on winning this title instead of looking ahead to Miami. Let’s sift through that draw, find the players with the best chances to win, and hopefully get some value in the outright betting markets.
*See the glossary at the end for explanation of table headers*
With my deepest apologies to the players, but also the utmost respect for everyone’s time, Coco Vandeweghe, Caroline Dolehide, Viktoria Kuzmova, Danka Kovinic, Jasmine Paolini, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Katie Boulter, Arantxa Rus, Tamara Zidansek, Lin Zhu, Varvara Gracheva, Saisai Zheng, Anna Blinkova, and Nao Hibino will not be lifting the trophy at the end of this week.
Heather Watson has had some success in this event and in Mexico in general. She won Monterrey in 2016, dropping only 2 sets along the way, made the quarterfinal in 2017 losing to Angelique Kerber, and won the Acapulco tournament last year. Perhaps the hot conditions suite her serve, but her path this week is too difficult after her first 2 matches.
Renata Zarazua is the home wild card this week. She lost in the 2nd round in 3 sets to Schmiedlova last week in Guadalajara, but made the quarterfinal in that event last year and made the semifinals in Acapulco last year. She also has a handful of titles at lower levels in her home country. I’m going to bet her match to match, but I don’t expect those opportunities to last long.
Lauren Davis played some nice tennis last week before getting crushed by Elisabetta Cocciaretto in the quarterfinal. She continues to struggle to find her form from 2018-2019, but Lauren could win a match or 2 if she plays like she did at the start of last week.
6 of the 12 names you see above will take a spot in this draw’s first, second, and fourth quarters. Kurumi Nara, Kristina Kucova, Lesia Tsurenko, Harriet, Dart, Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, Lara Arruabarrena, Anna Kalinskaya, Usue Maltane Arconada, and Mayar Sherif are unlikely to make it past round 1 unless they face another qualifier.
Kaja Juvan would be among the favorites to win this event if she were already in round 1. She is a strong favorite over Nara in the final round of qualifying and could land a spot against Sloane Stephens in round 1, at the bottom of the 2nd quarter with Tormo and other qualifiers, or in the 4th quarter. If she lands in that 2nd quarter I might be looking to bet her outright, but there’s no price for that as she has yet to qualify. If she qualifies, lands in that 2nd quarter, and is 12-1 or better she might be an interesting wager, but I’m not counting on all of that to happen.
Viktorija Golubic or Leonie Kung will be interesting to wager on match to match, but they’re playing each other in the final round of qualifying. Kung has shown success at lower levels and I think will eventually compete for a regular spot in the top 100. Golubic played well in her run to the final in Lyon the week before last. I’ll looking to be on either match to match this week, but not to win the tournament.
The #1 Seed of Sadness
I know, Sloane Stephens really does belong in the fodder category, but she’s somehow the top seed in this draw and that made me especially sad. Long gone are the days of 2017 and 2018 when she had a chance to win any event she entered. If she draws the right qualifier, she’ll have a warm up win, get crushed by a Canadian in round 2, and head to Miami to play in the bigger event next week where she’ll probably lose in round 1 anyway. This is all very sad to me. I’m sad now.
The Toughest Quarter Half in the Draw
Poor Martina Trevisan and Nina Stojanovic are stuck playing each other in the first round. If they win that match they’ve earned the privilege to play Nadia Podoroska or a qualifier. Since draws love to mess things up, I’m betting on Kaja Juvan to end up in that spot. These would all be fun women to back in this event, but given they all have to beat each other just to make the quarterfinals we have to pass on them in the outright markets.
Last Week’s Finalists
Sara Sorribes Tormo beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 7-5 on Saturday in Guadalajara which is just a short flight from Monterrey. They have at least a day break before their first round matches and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on the Tuesday order of play. Tormo just keeps playing better and better on hard courts. As someone that did very well betting against her in 2018 & 2019, I gave some of that back in 2020 and this year. Genie looks to be in good form and is capable of a high level of play when she’s focused on tennis. I’m considering the fatigue angle, although to a lesser extent based on the factors mentioned above, but the real reason I’m passing on each is their positions in this draw and prices. Tormo is second favorite to win at 7-1 despite being in the same quarter as the betting favorite and forced to play the winner of quarter one just to get the final. Genie is 14-1, but in one of the toughest spots in the draw. Pass on both despite their recent success.
She Might Win, But I Can’t Bet Her at This Price
Ann Li is amongst the highest hold+break in this event. She hasn’t played since losing to Aryna Sabalenka in the Australian Open, but made the final at the Grampian’s Event which was canceled to make time for the Australian Open. A lot of her other success was at the higher ITF levels, but this isn’t a field full of top 50 WTA players. She sits at the top of the easiest quarter of the draw and I expect her to be in the semifinals, but her price is only 9-1. This would be her maiden WTA title and she has a shot to do it, but I’m not expecting her to do it more than 10% of the time.
The Chosen Few
Leylah Annie Fernandez is a promising young talent looking for her first WTA level title and I love her chances to do so. She struggled in Guadalajara last week, but has a nice spot in the draw and when you consider Sloane Stephens is not as good as her name or outright price indicate. She’s my pick to win the first quarter and at 9-1 is at the same price Ann Li and a better price than Tormo. I think Sloane and her short week in Guadalajara are offering us some value on her pricing.
Marie Bouzkova lost a tight semifinal in Guadalajara to Tormo and made the final at the Phillip Island event, so she enters this week in form, and with a day or two to recover from last week. She sits in the second quarter opposite of Tormo who has a 50% chance of seeing Kaja Juvan in round 1 or 2. Marie’s first two matches should be comfortable wins and then she’s likely a favorite over Tormo or any qualifier. She’s 6-1 and I’d have her closer to 4-1 given her spot in the draw, her form, and her overall talent in comparison to the rest of the field.
Quarter 1 – Fernandez over Watson
Quarter 2 – Bouzkova over Tormo
Quarter 3 – Li over Bouchard
Quarter 4 – Podorsoka over Davis
Final – Bouzkova over Podoroska
RECAP OF WAGERS
1U – Bouzkova at 6-1 (please note: Bouzkova has now withdrawn)
0.7U – Fernandez at 9-1
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