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WTA Miami Tennis Picks, Predictions: Osaka to Breeze Past Riske (March 28)

WTA Miami Tennis Picks, Predictions: Osaka to Breeze Past Riske (March 28) article feature image
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Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Naomi Osaka hits a forehand at the Miami Open.

It’s been a fascinating start of the Miami Open on the women’s side of the draw, and we have more matches to enjoy as week two rolls on.

I’ve spotted value in two of Monday’s matches, including a play on Naomi Osaka’s match with Alison Riske.

Here are two betting picks to think about from the WTA Tour event in Miami.

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

Danielle Collins (-108) vs Ons Jabeur (-112)

11 a.m. ET

After struggling in her first match against Anna Bondar, Collins put together a better performance in her 6-1, 6-4 victory over Vera Zvonareva. While Collins did take a medical timeout against Zvonareva, she won three straight games to take the match after the timeout. As the medical timeout didn’t affect her level of play, it is not a concern for me.

Collins won 77% of her first-serve points against Zvonareva and was only broken once all match. Collins’ 73.3% overall first-serve points won in 2022 is also the third-highest among WTA players. Her 78.3% service games won is ninth-highest among active players this season.

As Collins showed during her run to the Australian Open final earlier this season,  she has the game to challenge the best players in the sport. Collins’ powerful serve and huge groundstrokes do a great job of controlling the baseline and putting opponents on the run.

Ons Jabeur played well in her 6-3, 6-0 win over Kaia Kanepi. While Kanepi was wild from the baseline, Jabeur played a smart match, exploited Kanepi’s vulnerability from the baseline and didn’t let the Estonian dictate play.

Jabeur won 77% of her first serves and 63% of her return points. She was only broken once while breaking the Kanepi serve six times on seven break point chances. It was a complete performance from the Tunisian.

While Jabeur was fine physically against Kanepi, she was barely made to work out there.  Kanepi was so erratic from the baseline that Jabeur was not tested physically and was in her comfort zone. When she’s able to comfortably dictate with her forehand and throw opponents off with her backhand slice, she is a very dangerous player.

It is important to note that the heat and humidity did play a role in Jabeur’s first match against Magda Linette. Jabeur was struggling to keep it together in the tough conditions.

Collins has the game to make Jabeur uncomfortable, as the American does a great job dictating play from the baseline. Jabeur will be forced into defensive positions on the court much more often than she is comfortable with and this increase in running could affect her physically.

Collins’ baseline game can hit through Jabeur and she should win this match.

Pick: Collins ML (-108 via FanDuel)

Naomi Osaka (-350) vs  Alison Riske (+270)

1 p.m. ET

Osaka put her Indian Wells debacle behind her to advance to the round of 16 in Miami. While Osaka was fortunate to receive a third-round walkover against Karolina Muchova, Osaka played excellent tennis in her 6-2, 6-3 win over Angelique Kerber in the match prior.

Against Kerber, Osaka won 89% of her first serves and only faced two break points, saving both. She returned at a very high level, as well, winning 47% of her return points, including 67% of the points on Kerber’s second serve.

Osaka has won the fifth-highest percentage of her service games this season amongst the tour at 80.7%. Her average of 74.8% first serves won is the highest on the WTA Tour. From the baseline, Osaka’s ability to dictate play and her control is among the best in women’s tennis.

Riske is having a very good week in Miami. In the third round, she beat Ann Li 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a topsy-turvy match.

Riske held Li to only 50% of her service points and broke serve on seven occasions. Her groundstrokes were more reliable in the crucial moments of the match, with a good combination of pace and depth.

Throughout her Miami campaign, Riske has done a great job of balancing when to be aggressive in points and when to play with more safety from the baseline. Riske’s forehand is looking particularly potent this week, as she’s doing a great job of both playing straight-up offense and counterpunching from that wing.

Unfortunately for Riske, there’s nothing in her game that should make a motivated Osaka uncomfortable. While the American is playing well this week, her serve won’t generate enough free points against Osaka’s return. In addition, Osaka’s groundstrokes are better placed with better controlled aggression than Riske’s.

When looking at Elo ratings, Osaka’s overall Elo is 180.8 higher than Riske’s and her hard-court Elo is 197.3 points higher than Riske’s.

Expect Osaka to win this match comfortably.

Pick:  Osaka -4.5 games (-118 via FanDuel)

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