Citi Open Odds, Picks | Expert Betting Predictions For Pegula vs Stearns, Sakkari vs Fernandez (August 3)

Citi Open Odds, Picks | Expert Betting Predictions For Pegula vs Stearns, Sakkari vs Fernandez (August 3) article feature image

Adam Davy/Getty. Pictured: Maria Sakkari.

The Citi Open is underway and it's been an incredible week of tennis so far!

I’ve found value on two of Thursday's matchups — Pegula vs Stearns and Sakkari vs Fernandez.

Read on for my WTA Washington picks.

Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches and seeing tennis odds.

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Citi Open Picks

Jessica Pegula (-500) vs Peyton Stearns (+320)

3:30 p.m. ET

Jessica Pegula last played at Wimbledon, falling 4-6, 6-2, 4-6 in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Marketa Vondrousova. Pegula won just 56% of her service points, getting broken on five occasions. In addition, the American won 68% of her second-serve returns, breaking five times.

Pegula, who won Washington in 2019, is 17-5 on hard courts this season. As a professional, Pegula is an impressive 241-137 on the surface. The American's court positioning is strong, she spreads the court well and she can effectively hit into targets. Pegula has excellent anticipation skills and her groundstrokes cut through court nicely. She's also comfortable moving forward.

Peyton Stearns, a lucky loser, beat Magdalena Frech 6-1, 6-4 to open her main-draw Washington campaign. Stearns won 67% of her service points, saving all nine break points that she faced. The American also won 56% of her second-serve returns, breaking on three occasions.

Although facing lower-level competition, Stearns does have a 15-3 hard-court record this year. For her career, Stearns has a strong 85-46 record on hard. The American's game is built around her heavy forehand, which she uses to dictate play and create offense for herself. However, Stearns' backhand is more erratic and she doesn't have the most dynamic game, lacking stand-out variety.

This is a significant step-up in level for Stearns, who lost to Hailey Baptiste in straight sets in qualifying. Pegula has the tennis IQ and placement on her groundstrokes to keep the ball on Stearns' weaker backhand wing.

Pegula's cutting groundstrokes should make it hard for Stearns to tee off on her forehand wing. Stearns' forehand can also get loopy at times, which Pegula should effectively attack.

Stearns benefitted from Frech's lack of offense, allowing the American to dominate from the baseline. Given Pegula's court positioning and her ability to play with controlled aggression (compared to Frech), that won't be the case in this matchup.

Finally, Pegula's overall Elo rating is 302.3 points above Stearns' and her hard-court Elo is 311.1 points higher.

Pick: Under 20.5 games (-122 via FanDuel)

Maria Sakkari (-178) vs Leylah Fernandez (+132)

6 p.m. ET

Maria Sakkari most recently competed at Wimbledon, losing in the first round 6-0, 5-7, 2-6 to Marta Kostyuk. Sakkari won just 56% of her service points, getting broken on five occasions. The Greek also won 52% of her second-serve returns, breaking five times.

Sakkari, who will be happy to be back on hard courts, is 12-6 in 2023 on the surface. The Greek has a strong 230-155 career-record on hard. Sakkari has a heavy, well-placed forehand that she uses to dictate baseline play. She can play offense with her backhand as well, although she sometimes loses control from that side. Sakkari moves well, anticipates effectively and maintains good court positioning.

Leylah Fernandez qualified for Washington and has now beaten Bernarda Pera 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the second round. In a sloppy match, while Fernandez won 70% of her first serves, she won just 25% of her second serves and was broken five times. She also took advantage of an erratic Pera on return, winning 56% of her return points and breaking on seven occasions.

Fernandez, a former US Open finalist, is 15-7 on hard courts this season and 105-58 for her career on the surface. It is important to note, though, that Fernandez hasn't beaten a player on hard courts that is currently top 4o in the world. Fernandez, when she's playing well, dictates well with her forehand. She has a high tennis IQ and she builds points well.

However, the Canadian's backhand can break down, her rally tolerance is suspect and she often looks underpowered.

I don't think Fernandez is playing as well as her results this week would suggest. While she took advantage of a monsoon of Pera errors, Fernandez lacked bite on both of her serve and groundstrokes against Pera and struggled to dictate play successfully.

Sakkari has the biggest weapon on the court in her forehand and should be able to drag Fernandez around the court without spraying nearly as many errors as the American. The Greek should also be able to effectively target Fernandez's weaker backhand.

In addition, Sakkari's overall Elo is 187.6 points higher than Fernandez's and her hard-court Elo is 177.2 points above the Canadian's.

Pick: Sakkari -2.5 games (-114 via FanDuel)

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