After word came out that Petra Kvitova was still quite hampered with her ankle injury sustained at Roland Garros, I wonder if the Sloane Stephens win over the Czech in round 1 has been a touch overrated?
As mentioned above, Stephens got off to a strong start in round 1, defeating Kvitova in straight sets. The key thing to note from the match? Kvitova was only able to produce 8 winners over the course of the match, in a disheartening performance. Things got a little easier for Stephens in round 2, with Kristie Ahn backing up from her long match with Heather Watson. Whilst Stephens does look to have turned the corner this year compared to the form of 2020, this is a big step up in opposition quality today in Liudmila Samsonova.
The impressive run of Samsonova has continued, with a 3 set win over Jessica Pegula in round 2. She was the better player in almost every key moment, notably in the third set, with Pegula a tricky opponent, even if grass isn’t her bet surface. Confidence is high, and it is shining through in the key moments.
I was lucky enough to watch these two play each other in Brisbane last year, a match Samsonova won as an underdog. Her serve here will be the key, as it was on that day. Samsonova is stronger than Stephens in a number of areas, to the point that the -2.5 game handicap appeals.
It will only be a small play though, given the significant grand slam edge owned by Stephens, which is a slight concern. I will keep this to a 1 unit selection.
1 unit Samsonova -2.5 games vs Stephens at $1.83 at Topsport/Bet365
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