Steve’s WTA Palermo Preview: Zheng vs Cristian

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I have no desire to get in the way of the momentum Qinwen Zheng is riding at the moment.

At 18 years of age, Zheng has produced a 56-11 record across the last 12 months. The most impressive part is the rise in her rankings from 630th to 171st, an exceptional rise given the quirks around retaining ranking points for players post the COVID tour suspension. Any concerns about her ability to back up her level against a quality opponent were squashed with the 6-3 6-2 win over Liudmila Samsonova in round 1, dropping serve only once for the match. When she won the tournament in Stare Splavy, she was actually asked if she knew of any of the previous winners of that tournament. When she was told that Barbora Krejcikova had won the tournament, a player Zheng had never heard before (even though she won Roland Garros a week earlier). She seems mature beyond her years, and I don’t see this run of hers stopping in the short term.

Jaqueline Cristian has been solid without being spectacular this year, and her recent form concerns me given the strength of opposition at the other end of the court. On recent form it is difficult to see where Zheng doesn’t hold the edge. Against lesser opposition Cristian has found herself dropping cheap sets at times of late, and that does appeal somewhat when considering opposing her with a large minus game handicap.

As well as Zheng is playing, she is still only 18 years of age and there are likely to be dips in performance. Nevertheless, with a -5.5 game handicap available north of $2, I am happy to get involved here for a unit.

Zheng is one to watch moving forward, regardless of the result here.

Suggested Bet:
1 unit Zheng -5.5 games vs Cristian at $2.10 at Bet365