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WTA Charleston Tennis Odds, Analysis & Predictions: Stephens Too Solid for Zheng (April 5)

WTA Charleston Tennis Odds, Analysis & Predictions: Stephens Too Solid for Zheng (April 5) article feature image
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Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Sloane Stephens celebrates winning her match at the Miami Open against Panna Udvardy.

The clay season is off to an incredible start and Charleston is bringing the high-quality tennis that tennis fans love.

But more important than high-quality tennis are high-quality bets, and I believe we’re in good position for that on Tuesday.

I’ve found two bets to think about on the slate of matches in Charleston.

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

Magda Linette (-250) vs Katie Volynets (+190)

10 a.m. ET

Magda Linette returns to the clay after a second-round defeat to Ons Jabeur in Miami. Linette is just 4-7 on the season and will be looking to the surface change in order to shift this season’s momentum.

Linette is 153-100 on clay in her career, but went just 5-6 on the dirt last season. Linette has won just one title on clay above the $25k level, taking home the championship trophy in the 2016 $100k Cagnes-Sur-Mer event.

The Pole has a solid baseline game and does a decent job at controlling rallies. She has pretty good on both wings and a serviceable serve that can set her up with short balls. However, Linette has struggled with her consistency this season, especially when trying to hit with strength.

Katie Volynets hasn’t played since her three-set loss to Daria Kasatkina in the second round of Indian Wells. Volynets was up a break on Kasatkina in the third, but couldn’t finish the match off.

The 20 year-old American has played just 43 matches on clay in her career, amassing a 25-18 record. Last season, Volynets went 12-8, winning a green-clay $100k event in Bonita Springs.

Volynets’ game adapts to the clay well. She’s very consistent from the baseline and is solid from both wings. Volynets forces opponents to play longer points and go for more on their shots to beat her. As the green clay is a little faster than red clay, this will also work to Volynets advantage, as it gives her groundstrokes a bit more pop.

This is a fascinating matchup between two baseline-centric players. Volynets is a very tough competitor with excellent fitness and she’ll force Linette to consistently grind through tough points.

However, Linette does have more power than Volynets and that will allow her to hit through the American at times. Given how she has lacked consistency from the baseline this season, though, this a tough time for the Pole to face Volynets.

While Linette is the better player and more likely to win the match, I don’t see her maintaining the consistency needed to beat Volynets in straight sets.

Pick: Volynets +1.5 sets (-130 via PointsBet)

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Sloane Stephens (+210) vs Qinwen Zheng (-280)

12:30 p.m. ET

Sloane Stephens fell in the second round of Miami to Jessica Pegula, but she won’t be too upset to get back on the clay. Stephens has a 65% winning percentage on clay over the course of her career, going 110-59.

The American even made the final of the 2018 French Open, getting a set away from the title before falling to Simona Halep. In 2021, Stephens went 11-6 on clay, including a run to the Charleston quarterfinals without dropping a set. She ended up losing that quarterfinal match to eventual-champion Veronika Kudermetova.

Stephens’ speed around the court, consistent depth and counterpunching skills make her a strong clay-court player. She’s very tough to hit through and has easy power that allows her to change from defense to offense. When Stephens is focused, she does a great job forcing opponents to hit extra shots to win points.

Qinwen Zheng lost in the first round of Miami to Magda Linette. Zheng will be looking to move past a rough patch of form that has seen her fail to win consecutive matches since January.

Zheng has played just 57 clay-court matches over her career so far, but she is 44-13 on the dirt. Last season, Zheng tallied a 16-6 clay record and won the $60k clay-court event in Stare Splavy.

The Chinese player has a massive first serve and huge groundstrokes that can hit through many players, regardless of the surface. However, clay can slow down those big groundstrokes and a fast player like Stephens can track many of those shots down and successfully defend against Zheng’s power.

While Zheng has done well on clay up until this point, as she plays more and more tournaments on the dirt, I believe that her results will level off.

Stephens also has much more experience on clay against high-level opposition and she knows how to defuse power players on the dirt.  Famously, during Stephens’ French Open final run, she successfully limited Madison Keys’ power game to win in straight sets.

It’s also important to note that Stephens’ clay-court Elo rating is 128.3 points better than Zheng’s.

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