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WTA Birmingham Tennis Odds, Predictions: McNally to Play Mertens Tight (June 14)

WTA Birmingham Tennis Odds, Predictions: McNally to Play Mertens Tight (June 14) article feature image
Credit:

Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Catherine McNally.

It’s been a great start to WTA Birmingham and there’s more fascinating matches to be played on Tuesday.

I’ve found value on two of Tuesday’s matches that we can exploit.

Read on for my best bets and previews.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

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Dayana Yastremska (-148) vs. Magda Linette (+115)

6 a.m. ET

Dayana Yastremska came the closest to beating Ekaterina Alexandrova last week, falling 6-2, 6-7(2), 2-6 in their first-round encounter in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

Yastremska won 71% of her first serves, although she did struggle to maintain control of her serve with 12 double faults. Despite playing against the Russian’s big serve, Yastremska won 40% of her return points and broke serve five times.

She has lost four matches in a row, but seemed much more comfortable on the grass of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Overall in her career, the Ukrainian is 15-11 on grass, but she has only played on the surface once since 2019 (last week).

Yastremska’s game adapts well to the grass, with her huge first serve and aggressive mindset on her groundstrokes. These attributes helped Yastremska make the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2019.

Magda Linette struggled to hit through Tereza Martincova in the round of 16 in Nottingham last week, losing 2-6, 6-7(3).

Linette only won 54% of her service points and 30% of her return points in the match. This was in sharp contrast to Linette’s first-round match in Nottingham against Katarzyna Kawa. In that match, Linette won 67% of her service points and 46% of her return points in her straight sets victory.

She has a mediocre 23-27 professional record on grass. The Pole gets consistent depth on her shots and can ramp up the pace on her groundstrokes when given the opportunity, but she can still be overpowered on grass by big ball strikers, such as last season against Camila Giorgi in Eastbourne.

If Linette is allowing Martincova to win 74% of her first serves, imagine how much success Yastremska will have with her first delivery on the quick grass.

Yastremska should get plenty of free points on her first serve and take control of the baseline with her powerful groundstrokes, putting Linette in defensive positions on the court. She should also have plenty of opportunities on return against Linette’s weaker serve that Martincova was able to expose.

Pick: Yastremska -1.5 games (-125 via PointsBet)

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Elise Mertens (-286) vs. Catherine McNally (+213)

7:30 a.m. ET

Elise Mertens had a disappointing showing in ‘s-Hertogenbosch last week, falling in the round of 16 to Alison Van Uytvanck 2-6, 3-6.

Mertens won just 49% of her service points, getting broken five times. She won just 19% of her first-serve return points, looking underpowered against Van Uytvanck.

The Belgian does have a 27-22 career-record on grass, but she hasn’t looked the same since injuring herself in Istanbul earlier this season.

Since coming back from injury, Mertens has played a more defensive, consistency-based game and is playing more passively than she did pre-injury. This lack of aggression puts her at a disadvantage on grass.

Catherine McNally qualified and made the quarterfinals of ‘s-Hertogenbosch last week and has now qualified for Birmingham.

McNally returned very well in qualifying victories over Astra Sharma and Maddison Inglis. The American won over 45% of her return points in both matches and broke serve a combined 11 times. McNally’s aggressive returning on grass has paid off.

She is now 6-1 on grass this season with her only loss to eventual-champion Ekaterina Alexandrova in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Overall, in her career, McNally is now an impressive 20-7 on grass.

McNally plays aggressively, often taking the initiative in points and attacking the net. Given that McNally is World No. 18 in doubles with a Major final at the US Open last season, it’s clear that net play is a strength for the American.

Mertens is the better overall player, but she has played passive tennis recently, which is not a recipe for success on grass. Mertens has also only played seven matches on grass since 2019, whereas McNally has played seven matches on grass this season.

McNally will attack Mertens’ serve and force her to be reactive and in defensive positions. In addition, McNally will take advantage of the many soft, mid-court balls that Mertens has doled out in recent weeks and pressure Mertens to make precise passing shots.

4.5 games is too much in this case.

Pick: McNally +4.5 games (-137 via PointsBet)

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