Steve’s WTA French Open Preview: Kenin vs Pegula

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The changes made by Sofia Kenin recently, as well as her improving health in general, leads to a bit of value on her in this all-American contest in a battle to reach the 4th round.

I was on Kenin 2-0 in the previous round, and outside of a slightly nervy moment at *4-5 in the first set, Kenin was clearly the better player throughout. Like last year, the form leading in to the grand slam was average (see the double bagel against Azarenka in 2020), however Kenin is starting to develop a reputation of bringing her best tennis at the biggest tournaments.

Making a coaching change away from her father also looks to have re-invigorated the American, and I do feel that although the scoreline was close, the win over Ostapenko in round 1 is one of the better wins of the tournament to date. If she maintains the level of the first two rounds, this is far and away the biggest test for Pegula on clay in recent times.

Pegula was on the brink in round 1 against Zhu, however looked a little better in round 2 against Martincova. My worry with her game on the clay is that she doesn’t play with enough margin, and her second serve in particular will lead to her being vulnerable in this style of match-up.

With the courts likely to be less lively than previous round based on the weather forecast, I think Kenin here is clearly favoured. Look for Kenin to be relentless on return, allowing for a number of break point opportunities across the course of this match. If Pegula wins playing some lower percentage tennis with less margin, then fair play to her. I am happy to play the percentages with a 1.5 unit selection on Kenin at the game handicap.

Suggested Bet

1.5 units Kenin -2 games vs Pegula at $1.91 at Topsport

Please note: I also like -2.5 games, so long as the price is above the $1.91 quoted above.

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