Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Camila Giorgi
- The 2018 Connecticut Open draw has a number of top ten players looking to round into form ahead of the US Open.
- Monday's primetime match features two former Connecticut Open champions in Petra Kvitova and Aga Radwanska.
- Betting action on the hard courts in New Haven will get underway at 10 a.m. ET.
The Connecticut Open presents the final warm-up opportunity for the US Open — which will start next Monday. As with all tournaments played the week before a major, you are essentially handicapping motivation over anything else.
After a grueling two weeks in Montreal and Cincinnati, Simona Halep enters as the No. 1 seed. Her coach Darren Cahill said on Saturday that she will play this week, but we’ll see if the Romanian actually takes the court come Wednesday.
Petra Kvitova and Carolina Wozniacki have combined to win this tourney in seven of the past ten years, but the field won’t have to worry about the injured Dane this week. Defending champion Daria Gavrilova already advanced to the second round with a win on Sunday.
The weather was horrific last week in Cincy, but the forecast looks much better this week in New Haven. Let’s take a look at Monday’s card to see if we can find some winners on day two.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (-195) vs. Kristina Mladenovic (+170)
Time: 10 a.m. ET
H2H: Sasnovich leads 3-2 (2-1 on hard courts)
Mladenvoic strung together a couple wins last week in Cincinnati, while Sasnovich won qualifying for the second straight tournament. I still need to see more from Mladenvoic before I throw money her way, as she still lacks confidence after a rough 2018 season. This line ultimately looks spot on.
Johanna Konta (-495) vs. Laura Siegemund (+395)
Time: 11 a.m. ET
H2H: Siegemund leads 2-0 (both on clay)
After returning from a 10 month injury break in March, Siegemund has played exclusively on her preferred clay surface. This will mark her first match on a hard court since April 2017. The German finished last season with an abysmal 1-7 record on this surface.
Despite a 4-3 record, Konta has looked strong during the summer hard court swing. (Those three losses all came against quality opponents.) Konta’s aggressive play suits New Haven much more than the game of Siegemund, who shouldn’t have much confidence on this surface. I can never recommend playing a -495 favorite straight up in the WTA, but the Brit looks like a solid moneyline parlay piece.
Camila Giorgi (-120) vs. Ana Bogdan (+100)
Time: 11:15 a.m. ET
H2H: Tied 1-1 (both hard courts)
Both players came through qualifying without dropping a set. Bogdan is a defensive player that will grind out points and utilize angles, while Giorgi will attack, attack and then attack some more. When peaking, Giorgi can compete with anyone on Tour.
I get the sense that this match will look a lot like Giorgi’s match versus Anastasija Sevastova in the first round of Cincinnati last week — when the Italian simply bashed the ball past Sevastova.
Bogdan can win if she can force long, tiring rallies, but I don’t think that’s in the cards today. The Romanian hasn’t looked sharp this summer, which spells trouble against a confident Giorgi.
Karolina Pliskova (-200) vs. Ekaterina Makarova (+170)
Time: 12:15 p.m. ET
H2H: Makarova leads 3-1 (all hard court)
Both players are experiencing disappointing 2018 campaigns. Makarova did put together back-to-back wins (for only the second time this year) last week in Cincinnati, while Pliskova went down in the second round for the second straight tourney. Pliskova usually doesn’t play the Connecticut Open, but I suspect she’s trying to find some form before the US Open.
Pliskova should move on if her serve is firing — but that’s a big if these days. If I had to pick a side here, I’d go with Makarova — who showed signs of life last week and has won three of four head-to-head matchups on this surface.
Aryna Sabalenka (-200) vs. Samantha Stosur (+170)
Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting
Sabalenka will try to continue her impressive summer run in her debut at the Connecticut Open. If she can fight off fatigue after a busy summer, she should handle Stosur — who enters as a “lucky loser” after going down in straight sets to Camila Giorgi in qualifying over the weekend.
Stosur can still bring it on her best days, but those are few and far between. I don’t think the Australian can handle Sabalenka’s superior pace.
Dayana Yastremska (-125) vs. Danielle Collins (+105)
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting
Yastremska looked impressive in qualifying with wins over Bernarda Pera, Magda Linette and Belinda Bencic. This is her first hard court tournament since the winter swing, but her game looked sharp. The 18-year-old Ukrainian has a solid serve and an impressive forehand that she can hit through the court.
Collins’ play has fallen off since her impressive run at Indian Wells and Miami in the winter. She made the San Jose semifinals three weeks ago, but that had more to do with her opponents than her individual play. The American got crushed last week against Lesia Tsurenko 6-0, 6-2.
If Yastremska can continue her solid serving, she should advance. Since I have this match priced at -140, I’ll take a shot on Yastremska at -125.
Maria Sakkari (-150) vs. Zarina Diyas (+135)
Time: 1:45 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting
Diyas beat Yulia Putintseva, Vera Lapko and Tamara Zidansek in qualifying, but I cannot back the Kazakh in her fourth match in four days after recently returning from injury (knee). As long as the talented Sakkari plays within herself, she should see her way through — regardless of Diyas’ fitness.
I will say that Sakkari can be very inconsistent, which she showed once again last week; she played great in a win over Naomi Osaka in straight sets, but then bowed out quickly to Anett Kontaveit. I still like Sakkari and her power at a generous -150 price.
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Monica Puig (-225) vs. Timea Bacsinszky (+185)
Time: 5 p.m. ET
H2H: Bacsinszky leads 1-0 (2017 Wimbledon-grass)
This is a very difficult match to predict. Puig is still searching for her Olympic gold form, while Bacsinszky is 0-6 on the year at all levels. Puig is the deserved favorite, but a fit Timea could easily win this match. This is the definition of a match you do not bet.
Petra Kvitova (-225) vs. Agnieszka Radwanska (+190)
Time: 7 p.m. ET
H2H: Kvitova leads 7-5 (6-5 on hard courts)
This primetime matchup features two previous Connecticut Open champions. Kvitova has actually won this tournament three times, but the big question mark coming in is how she is feeling after a grueling week in Cincinnati. The Czech looked fatigued this past weekend in her semifinal loss against Kiki Bertens.
A fresh and motivated Petra should breeze past an off-form Radwanska, but she could also go through the motions with New York one week away. Kvitova should be priced closer to -300, but her current fitness and motivation worry me.
Monday Best Bets
- Maria Sakkari -150
- Dayana Yastremska -125
- Camila Giorgi -120
- Jo Konta/Aryna Sabalenka -120 (moneyline parlay)