WTA Doha Tennis Picks, Predictions: Our 2 Best Bets for Gauff vs. Sakkari & Sabalanka vs. Swiatek
Andy Cheung/Getty. Pictured: Aryna Sabalenka practices her serve ahead of the Australian Open.
It’s been an incredible week of tennis so far in Doha, and we’re down to the quarterfinals!
While all four matches on Thursday are sure to bring high-quality tennis, in terms of betting value, I have two matches in mind.
Read on for analysis of two strong plays from Doha.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on watching tennis matches.
Coco Gauff (+115) vs Maria Sakkari (-150)
7:45 a.m. ET, WTA Doha
Coco Gauff has had a great start to the tournament. The 17-year-old American comfortably beat Paula Badosa 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals in Doha.
Gauff won 77% of her first serves and was only broken once during the match. In addition, Badosa only won 31% of her second-serve points and was broken five times. Gauff’s backhand came up huge during the match as she was able to dictate play from that wing.
Maria Sakkari took down Jessica Pegula in straight sets to book her place in the Doha quarterfinals.
The Greek won 76% of her first serve points and 49% of her return points. Pegula was only won 32% of the points on her second serve and was broken four times. Sakkari’s baseline game has been very strong. She has held the baseline and used her heavy forehand to dictate play.
Sakkari has also not lost a set yet this week, beating Ann Li in straight sets in her first match of the week. Sakkari did even better on return in that match as she won 53% of her return points and broke Li’s serve on five occasions.
This is a favorable matchup for Sakkari. She should dominate in the forehand-to-forehand exchanges because, while Gauff’s forehand has held up so far, she hasn’t played anyone with the caliber of forehand that Sakkari brings to the table. Sakkari can pressure Gauff’s forehand and force errors.
The Greek’s backhand is also good enough to hold up and fend off Gauff when she’s in backhand-to-backhand exchanges. Furthermore, Sakkari is the steadier of the two players and will force Gauff to overhit.
When looking at Elo ratings, Sakkari has the seventh-highest overall Elo and fourth-highest on hard courts. Her overall Elo rating is over 100 points higher than Gauff’s, and her hard-court Elo rating is approaching approaching 200 points better than the American’s.
This is reflected in their previous hard court meetings, where Sakkari is 2-0 against Gauff and hasn’t lost a set.
While this line is close due to Gauff’s good form this week, Sakkari should cover this spread.
Pick: Sakkari -2.5 games (-110 via BetMGM)
Aryna Sabalenka (-135) vs Iga Swiatek (+105)
1:45 p.m. ET, WTA Doha
Aryna Sabalenka has completely turned her season around in Doha this week. In her latest match, the Belarusian beat Jil Teichmann 6-2, 6-1.
Sabalenka dominated on-serve in that match by serving 74% of her first serves in, winning 68% of her service points, and only getting broken once. She also won 60% of her return points and broke the Teichmann’s serve six times.
Sabalenka has dominated from the baseline in both of her easy wins over Teichmann and Alize Cornet. Her powerful groundstrokes and precision have made her a nightmare to play. Sabalenka has only lost seven games in her first two matches in Doha combined.
Iga Swiatek easily took care of Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-0 to advance to the Doha quarterfinals. Swiatek won 67% of her service points and was only broken once all match.
Swiatek’s return game was also strong. The Pole won 59% of her return points and broke Kasatkina’s serve five times in five chances. With that said, Kasatkina is a great matchup for Swiatek. And, to be honest, that match should have probably never even happened, as Kasatkina was down a set to Jacqueline Cristian in the previous round before Cristian injured herself.
In addition, Swiatek struggled to put away Viktorija Golubic in her first match of the tournament before closing out the match in three sets.
This is a favorable matchup for Sabalenka. We saw in Australia how Swiatek struggled against players who can match her power and rush her from the baseline. Swiatek had to fight very hard to beat Kaia Kanepi in the quarterfinals and then easily lost the semifinal match to Danielle Collins.
Sabalenka has the power game to rush Swiatek and be the one dictating points, which will make the Pole uncomfortable, as Swiatek is usually the one in control of rallies.
While the match was close, this was the case in Guadalajara last year in the WTA Finals, when Sabalenka beat Swiatek in three sets.
And finally, it’s important to note that Sabalenka’s double-fault issues seem to have subsided. The Belarusian only hit four double faults against Cornet and zero when facing Teichmann.
Sabalenka is playing elite tennis in Doha so far and should be a bigger favorite in this match.
Pick: Sabalenka ML (-135 via BetMGM)