US Open WTA Third-Round Betting Preview: Back Bencic vs. Kontaveit on Saturday Night?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Belinda Bencic
- We have third-round WTA US Open betting action on Saturday in New York starting at 11 a.m. ET.
- Brett Farrenkopf gives his two favorite plays on the women's side, including picks for Kristie Ahn vs. Jelena Ostapenko (12:30 p.m. ET) and Belinda Bencic vs. Anett Kontaveit (9 p.m. ET).
All odds below as of 7:15 a.m. ET on Saturday and via PointsBet.
We have quite a betting card on Saturday at the US Open, highlighted by young American phenom Coco Gauff taking on World No. 1 Naomi Osaka in primetime. I couldn’t blame you for taking a shot on Coco but the line looks spot on to me.
Coco has needed two dramatic three-set victories over players much worse than Osaka to get to this point. And while Osaka had knee concerns headed into the US Open, she has looked just fine on the court.
While I didn’t find anything there, I did find two bets worth making on the women’s side — one in the early afternoon and one later tonight. let’s dig in.
Kristie Ahn (+142) vs. Jelena Ostapenko (-176)
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET
In only her fourth main draw appearance at a Grand Slam, Ahn has played superbly so far in New York. Her two wins over former Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Russian Anna Kalinskaya were efficient and relatively easy.
The American now takes on another former Grand Slam champ on Saturday in the enigmatic Jelena Ostapenko.
Ostapenko has seen quite a dip in play since winning the 2017 French Open. And she has been wildly inconsistent this year.
It appears Ostapenko has taken the tactical approach of going all out on second serves. Her double fault rates have consistently been in the 15-20% range all year. In her second-round match against Alison Riske, she hit seven double faults in her first game alone. (And still somehow held!) She ended up with 17 total double faults for the match.
Ahn’s main goal here should be to play defensive tennis and get everything back, which she’s capable of doing. There’s always the chance Ostapenko peaks en route to a blowout win, but chances are she’ll get wild for long stretches.
Ahn also possesses the ability to turn defense into offense, which was on full display versus Kalinskaya on Thursday. Her ability to change direction with her forehand helped win her the match (Kalinskaya’s wild inconsistency didn’t hurt, either).
For what it’s worth, Ahn won her only previous meeting vs. Ostapenko in a tight three-setter earlier this year on clay.
Ostapenko is clearly the more talented player but also much more volatile. Ahn has shown consistency all week and has every chance to make the fourth round of a major for the first time in her career.
*I’d bet Ahn down to +130
Belinda Bencic (-110) vs. Anett Kontaveit (-110)
Saturday, 9 p.m. ET
It’s been five years since Kontaveit’s debut in NYC when she made a surprise run to the fourth round. She has a chance to match that career-best Grand Slam performance with a win over Bencic.
Meanwhile, Bencic is seeking to finally break through to the fourth round at a major in 2019 after losing in the third-round in each of the first three Slams of the year. Bencic has previously made the fourth-round three times in her career, including a quarterfinal run here at the US Open in 2014.
The contrasting styles between Bencic and Kontaveit should make this match an entertaining affair. Kontaveit is a big-hitter who plays with small margins. And Bencic, who doesn’t have a power game, wins matches by taking the ball early and creating angles.
Both players have taken out inferior opponents so far this tourney and this will mark their first ever meeting. So, this match will be a new look for them this week.
Considering the career accomplishments of each and their respective talents, I believe Bencic should be getting more respect in the market. The Swiss is much better at reading her opponents and adjusting on the fly to attack weaknesses. Even if she starts slow, I have faith that Bencic can gameplan with her outstanding tennis IQ and successfully exploit weaknesses in Kontaveit’s game.
The key for Kontaveit will be attacking Bencic’s incredibly vulnerable second serve, which lacks power and kick. She routinely struggles to hold serve if her first serve percentage dips below 55%. Kontaveit has the power to win easy points off of Belinda’s weak second serve.
In what should be a competitive match, I trust Bencic’s mental game and her ability to adjust more than Kontaveit.
*I’d bet Bencic up to -120