WTA Miami Tennis Picks, Predictions: Martincova a Tough Out For Muchova (March 23)
Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Tereza Martincova hits a forehand at the Indian Wells tennis tournament.
If Monday's matches are any indication of what's to come in Miami, then we're in for a treat!
And while Tuesday's matches will certainly be fun to watch, I have spotted two matches where value has presented itself.
Here are two plays to think about from the WTA Tour on Tuesday in Miami.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on watching tennis matches.
Tereza Martincova (-120) vs Karolina Muchova (-105)
12:30 p.m. ET
Tereza Martincova will be satisfied with her recent form. Two tournaments ago in Doha, Martincova made the third round, including a big win over Elina Svitolina. Then in Indian Wells, Martincova lost only three games to Heather Watson in the first round before putting up a valiant effort against Paula Badosa in her 2-6, 6-7(4) second-round defeat.
Martincova served over 70% of her first-serves in play in both matches and was broken four times in the two matches combined. The Czech also held both Watson and Badosa to under 55% of their second serves won.
Martincova does a great job of keeping balls deep in the court and she is very consistent from both wings. Her movement is strong and as world number six Badosa learned, she's hard to break down from the baseline.
Karolina Muchova hasn't played since the first round of the US Open, when she lost in straight sets to Sara Sorribes Tormo. Muchova, who was out with an injury to her abdomen, will surely be happy to be out on court once again.
When Muchova is playing well, she's fun to watch. She has a well-placed serve and a powerful, precise forehand. Her low, skidding backhand slice is also a weapon, as she's able to keep the ball out of her opponents' strike zones. Muchova is also very competent at the net.
With that said, the humidity in Miami will test Muchova's fitness immediately. In addition, she doesn't play with a ton of margin, so in Muchova's first match after many months, her baseline game is unlikely to be at its best.
Martincova will certainly test Muchova's rally tolerance, as Martincova's consistent depth is one of the strengths of her game. Martincova is also very fit and I don't think she will be nearly as affected by the humidity as Muchova will be.
Martincova is a nightmare player for Muchova to play in the first round. She's fit, consistent, and in form.
Expect Martincova to spoil Muchova's return to professional tennis.
Pick: Martincova ML (-120 via BetMGM)
Clara Tauson (-290) vs Shuai Zhang (+220)
12:30 p.m. ET
Clara Tauson had a nice opening win over Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round of Indian Wells, beating the Brazilian in straight sets. However, Tauson fell 7-6(3), 2-6, 1-6 to eventual champion Iga Swiatek in her next match.
In both of Tauson's Indian Wells matches, she won over two-thirds of her first-serve points. Tauson also did a good job attacking the Haddad Maia serve, winning 60% of her return points and breaking six times. However, against Swiatek, Tauson won only 33% of her return points.
Tauson's first serve is fairly strong and she can dominate from the baseline with excellent controlled aggression. The Dane had a huge breakthrough when she beat Anett Kontaveit at the Australian Open this season, surprising many as she out-hit Kontaveit from the baseline.
Shuai Zhang has been on a rollercoaster ride recently. Two tournaments ago, she won the title in Lyon, beating Dayana Yastremska in the final. However, in Indian Wells, she lost 3-6, 2-6 in the first round to Daria Saville.
Zhang, who is normally a serve-dependent player, won only 48% of her service points during the match against Saville. With that said, Saville's game suited the high-bouncing, extremely slow conditions in Indian Wells perfectly, while Zhang's game did not fit the surface. Therefore, there's not too much that we can take away from that result.
The Chinese player has a big first serve and is very aggressive from the baseline. She has good power on her groundstrokes and tries to put her opponents in defensive positions whenever she can.
This match won't feature many long rallies and both players will be looking to control the baseline with their big groundstrokes. Each will be tough to break and have big first serves.
In addition, while Zhang doesn't quite have the controlled aggression that Tauson has from the baseline, she will have times in the match where she's able to match Tauson's power and take the Dane out of her comfort zone. Zhang only lost one set in Lyon for a reason, her game can be brutal for opponents to handle.
While Tauson is a deserved favorite, Zhang should bring this total over 20.5 games.
Pick: Over 20.5 games (-115 via PointsBet)