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WTA Wimbledon Betting Preview: Sloane Stephens’ Section Is Wide Open

WTA Wimbledon Betting Preview: Sloane Stephens’ Section Is Wide Open article feature image

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens made the third round in her first ever Wimbledon appearance, followed by a quarterfinal run. However, she hasn’t advanced past the third round in her last six trips since, including first round exits in 2014 and 2017.

Oddsmakers do make Stephens the favorite to reach the semis, but not by much. This quarter a little wide open.

Let’s dig into this quarter a little deeper from a betting perspective to identify potential value in the first round and futures market.

Stephens Head-to-Head vs. Seeds

  • 2-1 vs. Karolina Pliskova
  • 2-0 vs. Venus Williams
  • 5-1 vs. Julia Goerges
  • 1-0 vs. Kiki Bertens
  • 3-2 vs. Barbora Strycova (1-0 on grass)
  • 0-0 vs. Mihaela Buzarnescu
  • 2-2 vs. Shuai Zhang (0-1 on grass)

Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki must be drooling at Stephens’ draw. The American is 15-6 against the other seeds in a quarter that doesn’t look too challenging — especially with Venus Williams in the other half.

Stephens really couldn’t ask for a better group of seeds for the lone grass Slam. Pliskova has never made it out of the second round at Wimbledon. Goerges has lost in the first round here in each of the last five years. Bertens is 3-5 at Wimbledon and far from a grass courter. Buzarnescu comes in on form, but has never even played a match at Wimbledon. And Shuai has never won a match in London in four tries. Venus and Strycova do have grass pedigree, but neither should scare Sloane.

Key Head-to-Head Records 

  • Karolina Pliskova 2-1 vs. Venus Williams
  • Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-0 vs. Barbora Strycova (1-0 on grass)
  • Victoria Azarenka 2-1 vs. Karolina Pliskova
  • Monica Puig 5-1 vs. Julia Goerges (1-0 on grass)

I should note that Puig has fitness questions heading into the tourney. She had to withdraw from the French Open with a hip injury and hasn’t played since.

Potential Popcorn Matches 

  • Karolina Pliskova vs. Kristyna Pliskova (R4)
  • Sloane Stephens vs. Venus Williams (QF)


Trickiest Path

  • Barbora Strycova: (1R: Kuznetsova, 2R: Tsurenko/Babos, 3R: Goerges, 4R: Stephens QF: Venus/Pliskova)

Unseeded Grass Specialists

  • Kristyna Pliskova: 59-27 career grass record; 9-10 past three years; 3 titles
  • Aryna Sabalenka: 14-6 career grass record; 14-6 past three years; 0 titles

Kristyna, like her sister Karolina, comes into Wimbledon a little out of sorts, but does have a solid grass game when on. She previously showed that here by winning the 2010 Girls’ Wimbledon title.

Sabalenka just defeated four 2018 Wimbledon seeds (Karolina Pliskova, Julia Goerges, Elise Mertens and Aga Radwanska) en route to the Eastbourne final — where she lost to Wozniacki. The 20-year-old Belarusian is a ball basher that plays an aggressive style that works very well on grass. She certainly has the potential to make a run if she can get by a tough first round match with Mihael Buzarnescu.

Potential Moneyline Parlay Pieces

  • Venus Williams (-439) vs. Johanna Larsson
  • Anna Blinkova (-200) vs. Yafan Wang

Larsson is 0-7 in her career at Wimbledon, while Venus is 87-15. Just a slight difference in success in London. In fact, Williams has played in more Wimbledon finals (8) than the total matches Larsson has played here.

Blinkova isn’t anything to write home about, but she should get through Wang — who has never played a Tour-level match on grass.

Upset Alerts

  • Sloane Stephens (-170) vs. Donna Vekic (+150)
  • Kiki Bertens (-410) vs. Barbora Stefkova (+330)
  • Irina-Camelia Begu (-200) vs. Katie Swan (+175)

Stephens is a rhythm player, making her more vulnerable earlier in tournaments — especially in her first grass match this season. Vekic has the necessary skill set on grass to pull off the upset, which showed in her 2017 title run in Nottingham. She beat Jo Konta in that final and then almost backed it up against Jo a month later at Wimbledon — before losing in heartbreaking fashion (10-8 in the third set). She also played Venus very tough here in 2016. These two met once before on clay and Stephens came through in three sets.

The others are just fades of two favorites who don’t fancy this surface. Bertens is 7-14 career on grass, while Begu is 11-21. Neither deserve their current price tags. Plus, Swan will have the home crowd behind her and Stefkova actually has a decent grass game.

Finding Futures Value

If Sloane (+300) can get through her tricky first-round matchup, she can make noise in a very winnable section — but I think Vekic might send her packing.

And the only other seeds I truly trust on grass at this moment are Strycova (+2200) and Venus (+600). But given the Czech’s difficult path, I’d lean more toward Venus — who has an easier road and made the Wimbledon semis in each of the past two years. Williams has actually made the fourth round in 15 of her 20 appearances at the All England Club. There’s definite value on one of the greatest grass courters of all-time to win this fairly easy quarter.

If you want to get crazy and bet a future on an unseeded player, I’d look at Vekic before Victoria Azarenka — who I just don’t think has her game all the way back yet to do any real damage.

Quarter Bet to Watch: Venus +600

More WTA Wimbledon Betting Coverage

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