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WTA San Jose Betting Preview: Serena-Konta Headlines Solid Tuesday Slate

Jul 31, 2018 8:05 AM EDT
  • Six WTA matches are scheduled on a solid Tuesday slate in San Jose.
  • Serena Williams (-220) will take on Johanna Konta in the feature match of the day.
  • There are also a number of intriguing up-and-coming teenagers in action.

I didn’t bet anything yesterday in San Jose, but still had to sweat out our future bet on Victoria Azarenka, who eventually closed out a pesky Kateryna Bondarenko in a match that lasted almost three hours. That was stressful!

We have a solid San Jose slate on Tuesday — highlighted by a few intriguing teenagers and the main event: Serena Williams vs. Johanna Konta. Based on quotes from some of the players, the courts at this brand new tournament are playing more slowly than those at Stanford (the tourney it replaced). In her postmatch interview yesterday, Ajla Tomljanovic said the San Jose courts are very similar to those at the U.S. Open.

Let’s take a closer look at all six of today’s scheduled matches — two of which I think warrant an investment.

Shuai Zhang (-130) vs. Vera Lapko (+110)

Time: 1 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting

Zhang is the more heralded player, but was unimpressive last week in a loss to Lin Zhu, who routinely pounced on Zhang’s weak second serve. Lapko plays an aggressive style that can exploit that same deficiency.

Although Lapko has never performed exceptionally well on outdoor hard courts on tour, I think the 2016 Australian Open girls’ champion has a great chance today. I actually make the teenager a slight favorite.

The Pick: Vera Lapko +110

Kristina Mladenovic (-125) vs. Timea Babos (+105)

Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
H2H: Mladenovic leads 4-3

Babos has a dreadful 2-8 record since the start of clay season, but now can return to mashing the ball on her preferred surface. Mladenovic seems to have fully recovered from a 15-match losing streak earlier this year, but I don’t think she should be favored on a hard court against Babos.

If on her game, the Hungarian can overpower Mladenovic on this surface, as she did in a win (7-5, 7-5) in their most recent meeting on an outdoor hard court in New Haven last summer.

The Pick: Timea Babos +105

Mihaela Buzarnescu (-200) vs. Sachia Vickery (+170)

Time: 3:45 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting

Buzarnescu’s late career resurgence has been one of the best stories of the 2018 WTA season. After playing only one match in 2013, the 30-year-old has made six semifinals this year. However, I worry about the amount of tennis she’s played over the last 18 months — having taken only one week off (last week) since the beginning of May. That may soon catch up with the Romanian.

Vickery excels on hard courts — where she performed well earlier this year, losing to Caroline Wozniacki in the Auckland final. Regardless of the surface, the American will fight on every point.

The Pick: PASS

Claire Liu (-120) vs. Heather Watson (+100)

Time: 5 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting

I’ve never been a big fan of Watson’s game and rarely back the Brit, especially on this surface. She did make the Hobart semifinals in January, but has since gone 2-14 on tour.  Liu, an 18-year-old American, is a deserving favorite on this surface against an off-form Watson.

The Pick: PASS

Serena Williams (-220) vs. Johanna Konta (+180)

Time: 10 p.m. ET
H2H: Serena leads 1-0

The marquee match of the day between two former Stanford champions. If you’re going to ever fade Serena, it’s generally smartest to do so in the first or second round of a tournament. Serena is hard to stop once she gets in a groove, which Konta knows from their only previous meeting: a 6-2, 6-3 rout in the 2017 Australian Open quarterfinals.

Konta has had a relatively disappointing year, making only one final and failing to advance past the second round in all three majors. And now she draws Serena in the first round. Tough.

The Pick: PASS


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Amanda Anisimova (-130) vs. Qiang Wang (+110)

Time: 11:15 p.m. ET
H2H: Anisimova leads 1-0

Anisimova is one of my favorite youngsters to watch. The 16-year-old American already has impressive wins over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Petra Kvitova at Indian Wells earlier this year.

This is her first tournament since returning from a foot injury from March down in Miami. Interestingly, she picked up that injury in a win (6-3, 1-6, 6-2) against today’s opponent, Wang, who will fly in from China after winning a title in Nancheng on Sunday.

Anisimova won two qualifying matches over the weekend, but neither was streamed. I’d like to see a match before backing her against an on-form Wang, even with the travel.

The Pick: PASS

Credit:

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports.Pictured: Serena Williams

Follow Brett Farrenkopf on Twitter
@bmf1314

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