French Open WTA Semifinals Betting Preview: Two Teens in Action on Friday

French Open WTA Semifinals Betting Preview: Two Teens in Action on Friday article feature image
Credit:

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Amanda Anisimova

  • WTA French Open betting action resumes on Friday with both semifinals getting underway at 5 a.m. ET.
  • Brett Farrenkopf takes a look at both surprising matchups which each feature a teenager in unchartered territory.

The 2019 French Open semifinals features two matchups we all predicted: Jo Konta vs. Marketa Vondrousova and Ashleigh Barty vs. Amanda Anisimova. The complete opposite of the men’s side which has all four top seeds still standing.

Let’s take a closer look at each match from a betting perspective before diving into which bets I like for Friday on the women’s side.

Markéta Vondroušová (+114) vs. Johanna Konta (-134)

This French Open semifinal features an intriguing matchup between the surprise clay court performer of the year and the future of women’s clay court tennis. Two technically different players both playing at a very high level.

This has been a shocking run for Konta, who had never made it out of the first round in her prior six tries at Roland Garros. This will be her third Grand Slam semifinal, so she has experience on the big stage, albeit not on clay. Nerves are more likely to be an issue for her young opponent.

Vondrousova is a 19-year-old from the Czech Republic who has always thrived on the red dirt. She made the French Open Junior semifinals twice, owns a 23-10 career clay record at the Tour level and made a final in Istanbul earlier this year.

Despite Vondrousova’s pedigree, Konta defeated her in May on the red clay of Rome in a tight contest as a +114 underdog. Both players handled a set each before Konta ripped through the third by a scoreline of 6-1.

Although Vondrousova did have a break chance to go up *2-0 before  a poor forehand unforced error seemingly swung the momentum. (The teenager also won their only other meeting at Indian Wells in straight sets in 2018.)

 

In an even matchup in terms of skill and form, Vondrousova has the edge in variety thanks to a deadly drop shot that she can unleash at any time. And once her opponent starts to expect a drop shot, she can unleash a powerful groundstroke for an easy winner.

In her win over Simona Halep this year, Halep all but ignored the drop shot and lost as a result. Vondrousova won 18-of-21 points on drop shots — 13 of which were winners.

Vondrousova also can counter-attack Konta with her superior movement, which was on full display in her quarterfinal win over Petra Martic.

However, Konta possesses a far superior serve.In 2019, the Brit has a significantly better ace percentage, double fault percentage and first serve in percentage. Konta has captured ace rates of +10% in her last three matches while Vondrousova’s best rate this year was 5.9%. Konta can win many more free points if her serve is firing.

Both players do have fairly similar first serve win percentages in the 66%-67% range. But in her quarterfinal win over Sloane Stephens, Konta won an absurd 86.84% of her first service points. That performance will be difficult to replicate. Since 2018, Konta is 3-7 immediately following a match where she wins +80% of her first serve points. It’s difficult to maintain that elite of a serving level.

Amanda Anisimova (+164) vs. Ashleigh Barty (-187)

Youth is really the theme in this semifinal as 23-year-old Australian Ashleigh Barty will face  17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova in their first-ever meeting.

Anisimova played one of the best matches of the tournament in her 6-2, 6-4 win over Simona Halep on Thursday. She hit 25 winners, utilizing her biggest weapon: the backhand.

Barty made relatively routine work of Madison Keys in straight sets. She did fail to serve out for the match at 5-4 but quickly regrouped and broke back following some Keys’ errors.

Anisimova was more visually impressive, but Barty simply played to her opponent by letting Keys over-hit her way out of Paris. Barty’s strategy can carryover to the semifinal match where Anisimova has a similar (albeit cleaner) game than Keys.

Anisimova mainly tries to hit winners. She repeatedly hit wide to Halep’s backhand and pushed her off the court before ripping backhand winners. The margin for many of these shots is slim, especially against top-tier talent and movers like Halep and Barty. When Anisimova is on, she can devastate her opponents. But it’s a different story when she’s off.

Despite winning her first career WTA tournament on clay this season, Anisimova also lost in qualifying in the two WTA Premier Events in Madrid and Rome. She lost to Marta Kostyuk and Kristina Mladenovic. In fact, against No. 206 ranked Kostyuk, Anisimova lost 0-6 6-2 0-6. Despite the talent, Anisimova is far from error proof.

Barty isn’t the most powerful player on Tour, but is very consistent — which gives her a much better chance of keeping the match competitive without her A-game. The Aussie also has a wide repertoire of shots in her arsenal.

Barty has never succeeded in Paris or on clay before this season. Prior to 2019, she never advanced past the French Open second-round and was only 25-22 in clay matches at the Tour level. But she comes in supremely confident and avoiding Halep has to be a massive mental relief.

If both players show up with their top games, we should get a great match.

Bets To Watch

In regards to Konta-Vondrousova, I predicted Konta -125 considering how dominant she has looked in Paris — although Vondrousova has yet to drop a set, while Konta dropped one to Lauren Davis.

The line has drifted in favor of Konta, which I suspect is a result of how visually impressive Konta looked against Stephens. Plus, Vondrousova struggled to close out her semifinal match against Martic — who is no pushover, but doesn’t have the same name recognition.

I’m already overly-committed to Vondrousova on the futures side, but I would suggest the Czech at any underdog price. I personally make her a slight -105 favorite.

For the other semifinal, I ultimately don’t have a strong opinion.

However, I do think the damp and windy conditions could hinder Anisimova’s power. And more importantly, the wind may have a greater affect on Anisimova who plays with much less margin than Barty — who I make a -170 favorite.