Willkommen in Stuttgart! We have a WTA500 here while some of the field is playing the WTA250 in Istanbul. With more ranking points and money at stake, most of the very best players are here in Germany. This will be the first match on red clay for the entire field excluding qualifiers. A few women did play in Charleston on the green “clay”, but this surface will be much different and we are indoors. Let’s sift through the talented field, see who might win, and find value in the outright betting markets.
The #1 seed, Ashleigh Barty, has never played on these courts, but I think she’ll find the conditions quite suitable. She only plays a few clay events each year, but does very well even winning the French Open in 2019. Despite taking 2020 off, Barty is in fine form winning Yarra Valley, making the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, and winning Miami. She has a bye which means she has to win only 1 match to make the quarterfinals this week. She is co-favorite to win this tournament at 4-1 which has no value to me given who lies in the 2nd quarter.
Her opponent will be the winner of Karolina Pliskova vs Jelena Ostapenko. Looking at the numbers above one would expect that to be Pliskova, but she’s just 7-6 on the season with only 2 wins against the top 50. Perhaps she finds some form with the surface change and a tournament indoors where her serve can thrive. Ostapenko is a threat in every match with her ability to redline. The 2 are 3-3 in their 6 matches against one another. Ostapenko has the most recent victory win a 4 & 2 win over Pliskova at Roland Garros last year. Whoever wins will have a chance against Barty, but it’s too hard to pick between the 2 before even considering that. Pliskova is 12 to 1 and Ostapenko is 40 to 1 which are passes for me, but means we’ll get to bet Ostapenko at a nice dog price in that match.
Congratulations to the newly engaged Elina Svitolina, but condolences on receiving the toughest draw of any player with a bye. She’ll likely beat Angelique Kerber or a qualifier in round 2, but I expect her to face defending champion Petra Kvitova. Despite having to do that just to win her quarter, she is priced at 11 to 1 lift the trophy at week’s end. Pass.
I’m a huge Jennifer Brady believer, but not on this surface. Being indoors will help her, but also Petra. Maria Sakkari generally does better on outdoor clay and is priced at 9 to 1, lower than Svitolina, despite having to beat Kvitova just to get to Svitolina.
Let’s circle back to Kvitova though. She won this event in 2019, made the semifinals in 2016 & 2012, and made the quarterfinals in 2013. At 7 to 1 I’m happy to back her to defend the title. She got out of Charleston almost as fast as she could and has been here preparing. Indoor clay is excellent for someone like Petra with a great serve, powerful groundstrokes, and just enough movement. I think the markets overestimation of Svitolina and Sakkari has compounded to give us an edge here.
Clay is not the best surface for Aryna Sabalenka, but perhaps with an easy draw she can benefit from these courts for reasons similar to Kvitova. She lacks the poise and the point construction that Kvitova has, but moves well and hits the ball harder than anyone. She has a great draw with Zhang in poor form and any qualifiers more than overmatched in overall talent. Her first test will come in the quarterfinals, but she is likely favored in that spot. Her outright price is 8 to 1 which is too pricey for my taste even with such a winnable quarter. It’s her first time on these courts, could be an underdog in the semifinals, and will almost certainly be an underdog in the finals.
Sofia Kenin is having one of the longer “1st Grand Slam Title” hangovers that we’ve seen in a while. She is only 7-6 on the year with a few perplexing losses since winning the 2020 French Open. Until that event, she had struggled on clay in her few WTA level events. I find her price of 12 to 1 laughable, because I think she loses to Anett Kontaveit in round 2. Kontaveit finished 2nd here in 2019, made the semifinals in 2018, and the quarterfinals in 2017. At 18 to 1 she’s mildly intriguing, but is likely an underdog from the quarterfinals onward. You’ll do better than that betting her match to match instead.
This quarter will de defined by 1 question. Is Simona Halep healthy? She had a shoulder injury in Miami which forced her to withdraw before a 2nd round match in which she was a sizeable favorite. That was about 4 weeks ago which might be ample time to recover, but it’s generally hard to count on Halep to be healthy with her chronic back injuries. She is tied with Ashleigh Barty as the favorite for this event at 4-1. Given her fitness question marks and her draw, that price is laughable.
Situations like this often offer us a value on other players in the same quarter. More specifically, 2 players at 22 to 1 in the outright betting markets caught my eye, but there’s too many question marks for me place a bet. Marketa Vondrousova because she is forced to play Halep a round earlier and beat the other name I have circled, Karolina Muchova, just to win this quarter. Muchova hasn’t played since making the semifinals at the Australian Open. I’d prefer Muchova, but both will be underdogs to Halep, likely underdogs to winner of the 3rd quarter, and certainly underdogs in the final.
Quarter 1 – Barty over Pliskova
Quarter 2 – Kvitova over Kerber
Quarter 3 – Sabalenka over Kontaveit
Quarter 4 – Halep over Muchova
Final – Kvitova over Sabalenka
RECAP OF WAGERS
1.5U – Kvitova 7 to 1 or better
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