WTA Finals Tennis Picks, Predictions: Pegula Will Comfortably Defeat Sakkari Once Again (October 31)
Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Ons Jabeur.
The WTA Finals are here as the top-eight players from the 2022 WTA season fight it out on the hard courts of Fort Worth.
I’ve found value on both of Monday’s matches as the tournament gets underway.
Read on for my odds analysis and prediction!
Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches and seeing tennis odds.
Jessica Pegula (-225) vs. Maria Sakkari (+170)
6:15 p.m. ET
Jessica Pegula won the WTA 1000 event in Guadalajara (hard) in her most recent tournament, defeating her current opponent, Maria Sakkari, 6-2, 6-3 in the final. Pegula’s won 79% of her first serves and only got broken once. Pegula also won 53% of her return points.
Overall, Pegula has an impressive 42-18 record on the season. On hard courts, she is 29-13 this year. The American moves well, is a clean ball striker and gets consistent depth on her groundstrokes. She hits her spots on serve and returns aggressively. Pegula plays with remarkable controlled aggression from the baseline.
Maria Sakkari had struggled with her game recently but turned things around in Guadalajara, making the final before losing to Pegula. Sakkari played very poorly in that final, winning just 49% of her first serves. She was broken five times in nine service games. The Greek won just 33% of her return points.
Sakkari has been up-and-down this season, but she still posted a 37-22 overall record, including a 22-13 mark on hard. Sakkari has a big, heavy forehand, but she can overhit from this wing at times, especially during tense moments in the match. Her backhand is inconsistent, although she is able to play offensive tennis from that wing at times.
Like in Guadalajara, Pegula should win this match comfortably. Sakkari’s become more inconsistent over the past few months and has a less reliable baseline game, throwing in too many random errors.
This is especially troubling when juxtaposed to Pegula’s reliable, steady game. The American doesn’t have Sakkari’s huge forehand, but she can effectively neutralize that groundstroke with her consistent depth, forcing Sakkari to press from the baseline.
And it’s hard to trust Sakkari’s serve, given how Pegula was dominant on return in Guadalajara.
Pick: Pegula -3.5 Games (-120 via BetMGM)
Ons Jabeur (-125) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (+102)
8:05 p.m. ET
Ons Jabeur last played in Monastir (hard), where she shockingly fell in the quarterfinals to Claire Liu 3-6, 6-4, 4-6. Jabeur won just 52% of her service points, including just 38% on her second serve, allowing Liu to break six times. Jabeur also hit seven double faults in the match.
But while Jabeur seems to be running out of steam a bit, the Tunisian has still made two Slam finals in 2022, including one on the hard courts of the US Open. Jabeur has gone an impressive 46-15 this season, which includes an 18-10 record on hard.
Jabeur’s success is on the back of her forehand, which she hits with controlled aggression. Jabeur’s drop shots, backhand slice, and ability to move the ball around the court have caused plenty of opponents anguish this year.
Aryna Sabalenka last played in Guadalajara, where she lost an up-and-down match to Liudmilla Samsonova, 4-6, 6-2, 2-6. Sabalenka hit 11 double-faults in the Guadalajara altitude. However, given Sabalenka’s issues with double-faults this season, it’s hard to blame the altitude too much. In addition, the Belarusian won just 44% of her second serves.
Sabalenka has been shaky in 2022, but she’s still World No. 7 and finished the Slam season strong with a semifinal appearance at the US Open. This helped bolster Sabalenka’s hard-court record on the year, which still sits at just 17-13. Sabalenka plays high-risk tennis, going huge on both her serves and from the baseline.
When Sabalenka is hitting her spots, she’s a force to be reckoned with. When she’s not, she’s a disaster.
Jabeur’s backhand slice and ability to move the ball around the court will keep the ball out of Sabalenka’s strike zone and not allow the Belarusian to become comfortable ripping groundstrokes from the baseline. This should lead to plenty of Sabalenka unforced errors.
And Jabeur’s forehand is good enough that she should be able to push Sabalenka around at times and keep her from controlling the baseline.
Jabeur’s overall Elo is 110.1 points better than Sabalenka’s, and her hard-court Elo is 81.9 points better than the Belarusian’s.
Pick: Jabeur ML (-125 via PointsBet)