Steve’s Debrief and WTA Rome Preview: Bencic vs Mladenovic

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Just the one play yesterday, with Yulia Putintseva falling to Coco Gauff 5-7 6-4 4-6 as a $2.62 underdog. The first set was her undoing, with Putintseva having a 0/30 opportunity at 5-3* before going on to drop the set 5-7. It was all playing catch-up from there, losing the match by dropping serve when trying to consolidate a break for 5-5.

The results spreadsheet has been updated, and can be found here.

WTA Rome

Bencic vs Mladenovic

Both players have shown some levels of improvement in their game of late, however one side looks to be far more favourable at the game handicap that is currently on offer.

It isn’t overly common for me to back in the same result that occurred in the same match-up when they meet twice in a fortnight, however there is value in Bencic here at the game handicap. These two met in Madrid last tournament, with Bencic winning 6-4 6-2 on the way to a quarter final appearance for the tournament. Bencic went 4/4 on break point conversion, and Mladenovic 1/2. The keys? As can be the case in her matches, it came down to second serve points won. Bencic was able to keep this number above 45%, whilst Mladenovic could only muster 26%. Dropping down in altitude into slower conditions today, I don’t see things favouring Mladenovic moreso than Bencic.

Kiki lost serve 11 times across 5 sets in qualifying, for a win and a loss. The significant success Bencic had on second serve return will still be on the mind of Mladenovic, and it may cause her to push a little too much on the second ball, leading to some cheap points in key pressure moments.

Bencic is on the radar as a long-shot outright threat this week, and this looks to be a great match-up. Don’t be too worried about Mladenovic defeating Bencic in Rome in 2019, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then, and Bencic was exhausted from a long week in Madrid and a tough first round against Sevastova. I know this because I faded Bencic that day for 3 units.

Happy to take Bencic here at the -4.5 games for 2 units. I do feel as though this is the better play to a total going under. I see Bencic being more likely to win a one-sided set in this one.

Suggested Bet

2 units Bencic -4.5 games vs Mladenovic at $1.90 at Bet365 ($1.92 at Pinnacle)