WTA Budapest Odds, Picks, Predictions: Trust Ruse to Cruise Past Rakhimova (July 11)

WTA Budapest Odds, Picks, Predictions: Trust Ruse to Cruise Past Rakhimova (July 11) article feature image

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for LTA) Pictured: Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

Elena Rybakina just won Wimbledon this past weekend, but the tennis never stops! The WTA Tour is moving on to the clay of Budapest.

I've found two spots on Monday's slate where value has presented itself.

Read on for my Budapest best bets and previews.

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

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Elena Gabriela Ruse (-280) vs. Kamilla Rakhimova (+215)

5 a.m. ET

Elena Gabriela Ruse will be looking to bounce back on clay, where she has a 141-78 record as a professional and also won her only WTA Tour title (last year in Hamburg). However, it's been a tough season for the Romanian, who has gone 13-14 on the year — including a 2-5 record on clay — and lost six of her past seven matches.

However, Ruse's recent form does not tell the whole story. In her past four matches, all on grass, she's beaten Qiang Wang, got a set from grass courter Shuai Zhang and pushed Coco Gauff to 7-5 in the third. Ruse has easy power from the baseline and plays with controlled aggression from both wings.  She's patient and knows the right time to pull the trigger.

Kamilla Rakhimova has had a disastrous season since reaching the Bogota semifinals. Since that clay-court run, Rakhimova has gone 5-10, including 2-8 on clay. In all eight of the Russian's clay losses since Bogota, she has failed to win a set.

Rakhimova is 47-31 on clay in her career, but just 5-9 this season, with four of those wins in altitude. When not in altitude conditions, she's struggled to find a balance between power and consistency. She's not stable from the baseline and struggles to ramp up the pace.

This will be a baseline-centric match, as neither player has a big first serve. I trust Ruse's game more from the back of the court. She is more comfortable generating power from both wings, is more consistent from the baseline and understands how to construct points.

It's also worth noting that in 12 of Rakhimova's past 13 losses, she has failed to win a set.

Finally, when looking at Elo ratings, Ruse's overall Elo is 208.4 points better than Rakhimova's and her clay-court Elo is 179.1 points better than the Russian's.

Pick: Rakhimova to NOT win a set (-102 via FanDuel)

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Lesia Tsurenko (-600) vs. Carolina Alves (+420)

5 a.m. ET

Lesia Tsurenko had a successful grass-court season, going 9-3. And while Tsurenko is 6-3 on clay in 2022, only one of those wins came in the main draw of a tournament. It's also important to note that making the transition from the quick, low-bouncing grass to the slow, high-bouncing clay is not easy.

Tsurenko, however, is very consistent from the baseline. This helps explain the Ukrainian's 155-107 career-record on clay. Tsurenko is able to hit with consistent depth and — eventually — take control of points with her backhand. However, Tsurenko's forehand can break down at times as she's less sturdy from that wing.

Carolina Alves qualified for Budapest without dropping a set. After defeating Ekaterina Reyngold in the first round of qualifying, Alves beat Gabriela Lee 6-2, 6-3 to make the main draw. Against Lee, Alves won 64% of her service points and was only broken once all match.  In addition, Alves won 50% of her return points and broke serve on five occasions. Overall, in qualifying, Alves won 54% of her return points and was able to break serve 11 times.

While Alves was playing lower-level opposition in qualifying, she won both matches convincingly and will be used to the conditions in Budapest. Overall, Alves is 282-189 on clay as a professional and 18-11 on the season. The Brazilian has a heavy forehand that she uses to dictate from the baseline and a backhand that can keep her in points, though it isn't a big weapon.

Alves has played a lot clay-court tennis recently, including in Budapest qualifying, while Tsurenko hasn't played on clay since the first round of Roland Garros. This will be a tough transition for Tsurenko to have to play an in-form qualifier as she gets readjusted to the surface.

Alves can hold her own from the backhand side, while working to get ahead in the forehand-to-forehand rallies and subsequently breaking down Tsurenko from that wing. Tsurenko will struggle at times to handle Alves' heavy, deep forehands.

Pick: Alves +5.5 games (-106 via FanDuel)

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