• We have a full WTA betting card Wednesday in Montreal with 13 scheduled matches.
  • Three past Rogers Cup champions will be in action, including 2017 winner Elina Svitolina.
  • Angelique Kerber will also play her first match since winning the Wimbledon title.

What a day of tennis we had in Montreal on Tuesday, with eight of the 19 matches going the distance. A few players I had on injury watch (namely Elise Mertens and Victoria Azarenka) looked a lot closer to 100% than I anticipated.

We have 13 second-round matches on tap for Wednesday, which has popcorn potential all over. Three past Rogers Cup champions will be in action (Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina) — and we have a first-time meeting between the face of Russian tennis and the future of Russian tennis.

Let’s dive into each of the 13 matches from a betting perspective. You can find my four best bets at the end of the column.


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Ashleigh Barty (-190) vs. Alison Van Uytvanck (+161)

Time: 11 a.m. ET
H2H: First meeting

This match features two up-and-comers with plenty of potential. Van Uytvanck has always had a lot of raw talent, but she has only recently started to put it all together. She can be dangerous on a hard court — the surface she won her second Tour title on earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Barty came into the year with high hopes, but has played a bit uneven all season. She did win a grass tournament, but her hard-court results have been fairly disappointing. Barty has more tools in her bag, but Van Uytvanck could push her off the court. I think this line looks a tad high, but would lean more toward the over.

Carla Suarez Navarro (-150) vs. Lesia Tsurenko (+130)

Time: 11 a.m. ET
H2H: Tsurenko leads 2-1

This line looks fair for two players who looked solid in their first-round wins. In a match that should feature countless grueling rallies, whoever hits more lines should advance.

Angelique Kerber (-365) vs. Alize Cornet (+300)

Time: 11 a.m. ET
H2H: Kerber leads 3-1

Cornet can certainly extend points and pester Kerber, as she did in their most recent meeting in Beijing. The Frenchwoman won that 2017 match in straight sets — their only previous hard-court clash. Kerber arrives in great form, but could suffer a bit of a hangover after her Wimbledon title. However, the German might avoid that letdown if she has that recent Beijing meeting on her mind.

Karolina Pliskova (-170) vs. Kiki Bertens (+150)

Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
H2H: Tied 2-2

This line looks like an overreaction to Bertens’ straight-sets victory over Pliskova at Wimbledon last month. Pliskova, the superior hard-court player, should be priced closer to -200 against Bertens, who’s just 9-15 on this surface over the past 52 weeks. Also, don’t forget that the Czech beat Bertens on her favorite surface (clay) in Stuttgart just four months ago.

Pliskova only had a 55% first-serve percentage (with nine double faults) on Monday, but hadn’t played in over a month. Expect both numbers to improve with the rust now removed. I will be using Pliskova in a parlay with Milos Raonic from the men’s side.

Elina Svitolina (-145) vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu (+125)

Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
H2H: Buzarnescu leads 2-0

This is an extremely tricky matchup for the defending champion, who’s lost twice to Buzarnescu in the past three months (although neither came on a hard court). Svitolina will certainly be the more rested player, as Buzarnescu has played 12 matches since Svitolina last saw the court. I would normally worry about rust, but Svitolina has performed well after extended breaks, notably winning Brisbane to start the 2018 season.

I keep thinking Buzarnescu can’t possibly continue her insane form, but she continues to prove me wrong. Since I have a Svitolina future, I will sit on the sidelines, but wouldn’t blame anybody for backing Buzarnescu as an underdog.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Elina Svitolina reacts after defeating Caroline Wozniacki to win the 2017 Rogers Cup.

Maria Sharapova (-135) vs. Daria Kasatkina (+115)

Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting

The passing of the torch in Russian tennis is the popcorn match of the day. Both players looked very good in first-round wins, with Kasatkina beating an in-form Maria Sakkari and Sharapova flying past Sesil Karatantcheva.

Kasatkina’s game has vastly improved on hard surfaces this year, thanks to tremendous defense and improved movement. If Kasatkina can withstand the pressure of playing her more accomplished countrywoman, she should advance. I think the wrong Russian is favored.

Sloane Stephens (-600) vs. Francoise Abanda (+460)

Time: 2 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting

Montreal native Abanda picked up an upset win over Kirsten Flipkens in straight sets Tuesday, but will face a much stiffer test against Stephens. The American looked poor and rusty in Washington last week, but may have been focused on upcoming bigger tournaments — where she seems to play her best tennis. I expect a much more focused effort from Stephens at this Premier event.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Francoise Abanda in her upset win as a 3-1 underdog over Kirsten Flipkens on Tuesday night.

Anastasija Sevastova (-275) vs. Monica Puig (+230)

Time: 2 p.m. ET
H2H: Sevastova leads 1-0

Puig has never regained her Olympic gold form from Rio in 2016. And Sevastova should be able to force her into countless errors, which she did in their only previous meeting, at Indian Wells (hard court) earlier this year.

Elise Mertens (-310) vs. Shuai Zhang (+255)

Time: 2 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting

Mertens is apparently fully recovered from the forearm injury she sustained in the San Jose semifinals last Saturday. The Belgian looked solid in a win over home favorite Genie Bouchard. Zhang also advanced, but looked incredibly shaky, having to come back from a break down in each set against a player who has never won a hard-court match on tour. Zhang is a straightforward opponent who shouldn’t offer much resistance to Mertens, who should get through with superior defense and shotmaking ability.

Johanna Konta (-135) vs. Victoria Azarenka (+115)

Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
H2H: Tied 1-1

Azarenka showed no ill effects from her recent back injury, dispatching Kristina Mladenovic with ease. However, she will meet a much tougher opponent in Konta, who won an entertaining and competitive three-set match over Jelena Ostapenko.

Konta has looked very strong on the hard courts the past two weeks and should dictate points. I also still worry about Vika’s back injury playing on back-to-back days — especially since she should be under pressure all match.


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Venus Williams (-285) vs. Sorana Cirstea (+235)

Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
H2H: Williams leads 2-0

As much as I want to fade Venus again, I have no interest in backing Cirstea. The Romanian did get a nice comeback win against Monica Niculescu on Tuesday, but didn’t look great in the process. Venus holds the hard-court advantage with a far superior return game and should serve better with a match under her belt. (She finished with just a 51.9% first-serve percentage against Caroline Dolehide.) I don’t think Cirstea can sustain a high enough level to hang with Venus.

Simona Halep (-475) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (+380)

Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
H2H: Halep leads 7-0

This should be a simple match. Halep has dominated Pavlyuchenkova throughout her career, having only lost two sets in seven matches. Halep should come out motivated after reaching the semifinals in this tournament last year, and to maintain her No. 1  ranking. Expect Simona to move on.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Simona Halep at the 2017 Rogers Cup in Toronto, where she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Elina Svitolina.

Caroline Wozniacki (-335) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (+275)

Time: 8 p.m. ET
H2H: Wozniacki leads 1-0

This price looks too high, especially since Wozniacki has been practicing with a heavily taped thigh, which forced her to withdraw from Washington last week. The Dane did win their only previous meeting, on grass in June, but the match was extremely competitive (7-5, 7-6). Wozniacki is the superior hard-court player (and won this event in 2010), but I can’t pass up the power game of Sabalenka at this price against a potentially hobbled Wozniacki.


Wednesday Best Bets

  1. Pliskova/Raonic +112 (moneyline parlay)
  2. Mertens/Sevastova -125 (moneyline parlay)
  3. Kasatkina +115
  4. Sabalenka +275 (half unit)
Credit:

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Angelique Kerber

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