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WTA Madrid Tennis Picks, Predictions: Sorribes Tormo to Frustrate Osaka (May 1)

WTA Madrid Tennis Picks, Predictions: Sorribes Tormo to Frustrate Osaka (May 1) article feature image
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Anadolu Agency/Getty. Pictured: Sara Sorribes Tormo stretches for a ball against Anastasia Potapova.

It’s been an amazing start to the tournament in Madrid and the action continues on Sunday with even more entertaining matches.

Two of the matches, including one featuring Naomi Osaka, have presented us with value.

Read on for two plays to think about from Sunday’s WTA action in Madrid.

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

Maria Sakkari (-228) vs. Daria Kasatkina (+181)

12 p.m. ET

Daria Kasatkina came back from a set down to beat Anna Bondar to kick off her Madrid campaign.  Bondar is a tricky opponent on clay, so this was a deceptively good win for Kasatkina.

Kasatkina was very effective on return, winning 38% of the points on Bondar’s first serve and 57% of the points on her second serve.

The Russian generated 16 break points, breaking five times. Kasatkina’s movement and counterpunching ability make her hard to serve against because once the serve comes back it’s very hard to hit through her, even from offensive positions in the court.

In addition, Kasatkina has a heavy forehand that she places around the court well and she has the variety to keep her opponents uncomfortable and struggling to gain a rhythm. It’s no surprise that she’s won over 70% of her professional matches on clay.

Maria Sakkari survived a scare in her first-round match in Madrid. Sakkari recovered from a set deficit to defeat Madison Keys 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-4.

Sakkari won 52% Keys’ second-serve points and broke the Keys’ strong serve four times. Keys was going for huge groundstrokes, which worked for stretches, but Sakkari’s consistent and measured approach from the baseline ultimately prevailed.

Her heavy forehand works well on clay and she’s able to dictate play from the baseline. The Greek’s backhand is also solid and she does a great job of neutralizing rallies where she was originally in a defensive position. However, Sakkari was a bit more hit-or-miss against Keys than I expected her to be.

This match will be close. Both players move well from the baseline and have forehands that can do damage from the baseline. Sakkari plays a little more aggressively, but Kasatkina is more consistent and has better variety.

While Sakkari is the deserved favorite, Kasatkina will extract errors from Sakkari and I was not very impressed with Sakkari’s first serve in the first round because while she was only broken twice, she still only won 62% of her service points.

Though this percentage is not terrible, Kasatkina is a better returner than Keys and can better take advantage of Sakkari’s first serve.

Pick: Over 20.5 games (-115 via PointsBet)

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Naomi Osaka (-278) vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo (+218)

1 p.m. ET

Naomi Osaka got her clay-court season off to a great start in Madrid. Osaka beat Anastasia Potapova 6-3, 6-1 to set up this matchup with Sorribes Tormo.

Osaka’s serve was dominant, as she won 86% of her first serves and was only broken once in the match. She ripped through Potapova on return as well, winning 57% of her return points. When she’s locked in, Osaka’s power can be nearly impossible to play against.

The Madrid altitude certainly helps Osaka, but she’s still only played five matches on clay since 2019. With that said, her controlled aggression against Potapova was very impressive and Osaka showed that surface doesn’t matter much when she’s at her best.

Sara Sorribes Tormo won a topsy-turvy match with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to reach the second round of Madrid. Sorribes Tormo took down Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

Against Pavlyuchenkova, Sorribes Tormo’s return was terrific. She won 53% of her return points and won 7-of-11 of her break point opportunities. Despite Pavlyuchenkova putting 78% of her first serves into play, she only won 47% of those points. Sorribes Tormo gets a lot of serves back into play and is brutal to face from the baseline.

Sorribes Tormo’s game is tailor-made to bother opponents. Her consistent depth is excellent, she has a cutting backhand slice, and her touch shots are often perfect. She’s very solid from the baseline, but can also play cat-and-mouse points at a high level.

Osaka will try to overwhelm Sorribes Tormo with pace, while the Spaniard is going try to draw errors from Osaka.

Potapova had played a lot of tennis before facing Osaka and was fatigued for that match, whereas Sorribes Tormo will be much fresher than Potapova was. Sorribes Tormo also has the variety to keep the ball out of Osaka’s strike zone and keep her guessing.

Playing in her home country and with crowd support, look for Sorribes Tormo to put Osaka on her back foot with inspired tennis.

Pick: Sorribes Tormo +4.5 games (-118 via PointsBet)

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