WTA Doha Tennis Picks, Predictions: Our 2 Best Bets for Gauff vs Rogers & Kasatkina vs Tomljanovic
Via Andy Cheung/Getty Images. Pictured: Coco Gauff
After an exciting week in Dubai which saw Jelena Ostapenko win the singles title, the WTA's tour of the Middle East moves to Doha for another week of fascinating matchups.
And while there are plenty of matches on Monday's slate in Doha, there are two which caught my eye.
Read on for analysis of two strong plays from the opening round of Doha.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on watching tennis matches.
Coco Gauff (-200) vs Shelby Rogers (+155)
7:30 a.m. ET, WTA Doha
Coco Gauff did not play her best tennis in Dubai last week. Gauff lost 4-6, 4-6 to Jessica Pegula and struggled to find her game.
Gauff won only 30% of her second serves, was broken on six occasions, and hit two aces compared to 10 double faults during the match.
Despite only being 17-years-old, Gauff's backhand has emerged as one of the better shots on the WTA Tour. Unfortunately for Gauff, however, her forehand is a major liability and a shot that must improve if she wants to climb higher than her current career-high of world number 16.
Shelby Rogers hasn't played since a first-round defeat to Ana Konjuh at the Australian Open. Rogers went up a set and had a break point to go up a break in the second set, but she just couldn't close out the Croatian.
Rogers only won 61% of her first serves and 47% of her second serves, getting broken on five occasions. Ultimately, Konjuh was able to overpower the American a bit and take control of the baseline.
With that said, Rogers plays very solid tennis with no major weaknesses. Her shot selection is smart, she plays within herself, and she hits with good depth.
This match will come down to whether Gauff dictates with her backhand or whether Rogers can direct enough balls to the Gauff forehand to cause her problems.
Rogers is a crafty veteran who understands the game well. She will know that Gauff's forehand is really struggling at the moment and make her hit plenty of shots from that wing.
While Gauff's overall Elo rating is over 110 points higher than Rogers', on hard courts specifically, Gauff's Elo is only just over 20 points higher. Shelby Rogers' best surface is hard courts, as shown by her having the highest career winning percentage on hard out of the three main surfaces surfaces, so it makes sense that the gap is narrowed on this surface.
3.5 games are too many to give a competent player like Rogers taking on a player with such a big vulnerability in Gauff's forehand.
Trust Rogers to cover this spread.
Pick: Rogers +3.5 Games (-115 via PointsBet)
Daria Kastkina (-230) vs Ajla Tomljanovic (+168)
9:00 a.m. ET, WTA Doha
Daria Kasatkina did not have the start to the Middle Eastern swing that she was looking for, falling to Iga Swiatek 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of Dubai. However, given the level that Swiatek can play at, I don't see any long-term ramifications of such a loss.
Even so, Kasatkina will have to serve better against Tomljanovic than she did against Swiatek. The Russian won only 48% of her first serves and 23% of her second serves, getting broken five times in the match against Swiatek.
However, when Kasatkina is playing well, she is an absolute nightmare to face. Her forehand is so heavy, her movement and anticipation are top-notch, and her placement around the court often puts her opponents in tricky situations.
Tomljanovic lost twice in Dubai last week. The Australian fell in the final qualifying round to Elena Gabriela Ruse in straight sets but managed to secure a lucky loser position into the main draw.
However, in the main draw, Tomljanovic fell to Varvara Gracheva 1-6, 5-7, with the Australian unable to capitalize on her good fortune. Tomljanovic won just 58% of her first serves, 30% of her second serves, and was broken five times.
Tomljanovic can hit with some power when she's on her game, but her rally tolerance isn't particularly high, and her movement around the court isn't great.
When looking at Elo ratings, Kasatkina's overall Elo of 1933 and her hard-court Elo of 1856.3 are both significantly higher than Tomljanovic's overall Elo of 1817.2 and hard-court Elo of 1688.2. Now, compare the difference in their hard-court Elo's with the difference between Rogers and Gauff's hard-court Elo's. There's a huge difference in the gap between players, yet the game spread for both matches is 3.5!
Overall, Kasatkina has too much rally tolerance for Tomljanovic, and her consistent depth will cause Tomljanovic to become impatient and go for too much, too quickly in rallies.
Kasatkina is a much better player than she showed against Swiatek, and Tomljanovic doesn't have the controlled aggression to hit Kasatkina off the court in the way that Swiatek did.
Expect Kasatkina to cover this spread.
Pick: Kasatkina -3.5 Games (-112 via FanDuel)