WTA Dubai Tennis Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our 2 Best Bets for Sofia Kenin vs. Jelena Ostapenko, Marta Kostyuk vs Aryna Sabalenka
Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images. Pictured: Jelena Ostapenko
The WTA’s tournament in Dubai is heating up, with 11 exciting matches to come on Tuesday’s slate.
This means that there are plenty of opportunities to find value in the Middle East and I’ve got a couple spots in mind.
Read on for analysis of two plays from WTA Dubai to consider.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on watching tennis matches.
Sofia Kenin (+118) vs Jelena Ostapenko (-150)
3:30 a.m. ET, WTA Dubai
Sofia Kenin hasn’t played since a tight straight-sets loss to Madison Keys at the Australian Open. Kenin didn’t play poorly in the 6-7(2), 5-7 loss, but wasn’t effective enough in blunting Keys’ power.
Kenin struggled to return the first serve, winning only 16% of her first-serve return points and breaking serve only once all match. In addition, her own first serve wasn’t quite at the level it needed to be, as Kenin only won 65% of her first-serve points.
The American hadn’t played from Wimbledon last year until Australia of this season, so some rust is to be expected during her return to the tour. And she did lose all three of her matches this season, each to top-30 players.
Jelena Ostapenko played excellent tennis in St. Petersburg last week. The Latvian made the semifinals before falling to Anett Kontaveit.
Not a single opponent all week, including Kontaveit, won at least 45% of their second-serve points against Ostapenko’s return game. This run of matches included solid wins over Aliaksandra Sasnovich, a player who has started off the season very well, and Andrea Petkovic.
In addition, Ostapenko broke serve 17 times in the four matches she played in St. Petersburg. She has really used an aggressive approach with her return game to make up for the issues with her own serve.
This is a classic offense vs defense type of match. Ostapenko will look to take the front foot in rallies, while Kenin will counterpunch.
However, Ostapenko is much more in-form than Kenin. She’s played more tennis recently, she’s played well in most of those matches and the Latvian really seemed to develop a good rhythm from the baseline last week in St. Petersburg.
When we look at Elo ratings, Ostapenko’s hard-court Elo is more than 100 points better than Kenin’s and her overall Elo is more than 165 points better than Kenin’s.
While Kenin has more historical hard-court pedigree, at the moment, Ostapenko is the clear play in this match.
Pick: Ostapenko ML (-150 via PointsBet)
Marta Kostyuk (+160) vs Aryna Sabalenka (-210)
11 a.m. ET, WTA Dubai
Marta Kostyuk did well to qualify for Dubai, dropping only one set in her qualifying campaign. Kostyuk took down Ellen Perez and Diane Parry, and had a dominating 6-1, 6-1 win over Harriet Dart in the final qualifying round.
Kostyuk held Dart to 36% first serves won and 19% second serves won, breaking the Brit’s serve seven times during the match. Overall, Kostyuk won 72% of her return points during the match, an astonishingly high number.
Kostyuk has a great mix of both consistent depth and power. She maintains control of the baseline well and has a good understanding of when to go for her shots.
The Ukrainian made the third round of the Australian Open before falling to Paula Badosa in three sets. Despite losing the match, Kostyuk still held the Spaniard to 45% of her second serves won and generated 15 break points, breaking five times.
Aryna Sabalenka’s game is still in doubt right now. She reached the round of the 16 at the Australian Open, her latest tournament, but fell to Kaia Kanepi in three sets.
However, the way in which she reached the round of 16 was a major concern, specifically her double faulting. Sabalenka hit 56 double faults over the course of the four matches she played in Melbourne, hitting double-digit double faults in every match she played.
In fact, there hasn’t been a match she’s played all year in which she hasn’t hit double-digit double faults. And, as her 15 double faults against Kanepi has shown, it doesn’t seem like more match play has given her a much better service rhythm.
Whether or not the time off has allowed Sabalenka to reset mentally and get this issue under control remains to be seen. When she’s playing well, her first serve is huge and her powerful groundstrokes allow her to dominate from the baseline.
But without any solid proof that she’s over the hump and gotten her mental game in check, it’s impossible to feel good about her covering this spread against a player of Kostyuk’s caliber.
3.5 games is too many to be giving Kostyuk.
Pick: Kostyuk +3.5 games (-120 via PointsBet)