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WTA Madrid Tennis Odds, Picks, Predictions: Azarenka in for a Battle Against Zidansek (April 30)

WTA Madrid Tennis Odds, Picks, Predictions: Azarenka in for a Battle Against Zidansek (April 30) article feature image
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Clive Brunskill/Getty Images. Pictured: Tamara Zidansek.

The first two days of Madrid have been thrilling and Saturday promises to bring even more exhilarating tennis to the Spanish capital.

On top of that, I’ve found two value plays on Saturday’s slate of matches.

Read on for two plays to think about from the latest order of play in WTA Madrid.

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

Victoria Azarenka (-209) vs. Tamara Zidansek (+167)

5:00 a.m. ET

Victoria Azarenka’s clay season got off to a winning start in Madrid. Azarenka took down Viktorija Golubic 7-6(5), 6-3 to advance to the second round.

Azarenka’s serve was a strength in her match against Golubic as she won 65% of her service points. She also held Golubic to just 32% of her second-serve points won and 53% of her overall service points. Azarenka’s aggression on returns was too much for Golubic to handle.

Azarenka has had plenty of past success in Madrid, making the final in 2011 and 2012. In addition, she made the Roland Garros semifinals in 2013 and has won over 70% of her matches on clay. However, Azarenka’s form this season has taken a turn for the worse and she’s gone just 4-4 since the Australian Open. Azarenka has been more erratic from the baseline and hasn’t looked like herself.

After a disappointing early exit in Stuttgart, Tamara Zidansek turned things around nicely in Madrid during her first-round match against Beatriz Haddad Maia. Zidansek comfortably beat Haddad Maia 6-2, 6-3.

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Against the Brazilian, Zidansek dominated on return, winning 54% of her return points and breaking serve five times. Zidansek also protected her own serve well, serving 74% of her first serves in and winning 69% of those points, only getting broken twice. The Madrid altitude has given Zidansek’s heavy forehand a little more pop, making it even more potent.

Zidansek has won over 75% of her clay-court matches over the course of her career and made the semifinals of Roland Garros last season.  Her heavy forehand does massive damage on the clay and she has a great understanding of how to construct points on the dirt. Zidansek hits heavy and deep on clay and neutralizes her opponents’ ability to attack.

Azarenka didn’t look right in her first-round match against Golubic, with the Swiss serving for the first set. Azarenka’s lack of controlled aggression from the baseline in recent months is a concern and she’s been far from her best.

Zidansek finally seems to be gaining her footing on clay and has emerged as one of the best clay-courters on the WTA Tour. She knows how to effectively use her forehand on clay and can push Azarenka around in baseline exchanges, a defensive position the Belarusian doesn’t like to be in.

Pick: Zidansek +3.5 games (-105 via PointsBet)

Amanda Anisimova (-313) vs. Petra Martic (+242)

8:00 a.m. ET

Amanda Anisimova continued her good start to the clay season in the first round of Madrid. Anisimova beat Aryna Sabalenka for the fourth-straight time to reach this matchup with Martic.

Anisimova won 53% of the points on Sabalenka’s second serve and broke serve five times. She did a great job blunting the power Sabalenka threw at her and not getting pushed behind the baseline.

Anisimova, a former Roland Garros semifinalist, has started this clay season with a 5-1 record and is 38-18 overall on the dirt. The American hits clean groundstrokes and plays with elite controlled aggression. Opponents will struggle to hit through Anisimova on clay.

Dating back to qualifying, Petra Martic has won six-straight sets in Madrid. In her latest victory, Martic defeated Liudmila Samsonova 7-6(8), 6-1 and has now beaten the Russian five times in a row.

Against Samsonova, Martic won 53% of her first-serve returns and 51% of her return points overall. She broke the normally-strong Samsonova’s serve six times, generating 12 break points in the match.

Martic has won 64% of her matches on clay, her best on any surface. She’s made the Roland Garros quarterfinals in 2019, the same year Anisimova made the semifinals. Martic doesn’t win by blasting winners left and right. She uses her heavy forehand to manipulate the ball around the court and her variety is excellent.

This is a deceptively-tough matchup for Anisimova. Like Anisimova, Martic is also playing excellent clay-court tennis. Additionally, Martic will keep Anisimova off-balance with her cutting backhand slice, angles and different depths, which are not cornerstones of Sabalenka’s game.

Martic will use all of these facets of her game to construct points and take Anisimova out of her comfort zone. I have a sneaky suspicion this match will be played on the Croatians terms.

Pick: Martic +4.5 games (-118 via PointsBet)

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