WTA Tennis Expert Analysis and Predictions: Kasatkina Will Wear Down Raducanu (October 4)
Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Emma Raducanu.
After looking over Tuesday's WTA matchups, I've found value on two of the matches.
Read on for my WTA tennis expert analysis and predictions
Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches and seeing tennis odds.
Daria Kasatkina (-158) vs. Emma Raducanu (+130)
10 a.m. ET, Ostrava
Daria Kasatkina hasn't played since a shocking 6-7(8), 6-1, 3-6 defeat to Harriet Dart on the quick US Open hard courts. While Kasatkina won 58% of her return points, the Russian only won 48% of her service points and was broken eight times.
With that said, Kasatkina has had a strong hard-court season, going 21-10 in 2022, although she's also 12-5 on clay this year.
The reason I mention her clay-court record is because the conditions in Ostrava are very slow. While Kasatkina has limited power, she has good variety, gets consistent depth on her groundstrokes and places her groundstrokes with extreme precision. Kasatkina's fitness and counterpunching are also top-notch.
Emma Raducanu made the semifinals of her most recent tournament in Seoul, but had to retire against Jelena Ostapenko with a glute ailment. Raducanu had not dropped a set all week coming into the match with Ostapenko. The Brit had won over 55% of her second-serve points in her first three matches.
After winning the US Open last season, Raducanu is just 17-18 overall for the year and 10-11 on hard courts (6-5 on clay). She is a clean ball-striker who can hit into small targets and move well. Raducanu also has a high tennis IQ, although she can struggle with her serve and get pushed around.
The slow court speed in Ostrava favors Kasatkina, who is typically better on slower surfaces. The Russian will have plenty of time to find forehands and work the ball around the court, utilize her variety and counterpunch effectively.
Raducanu will struggle to hit through Kasatkina and will have to lower her margins to consistently win points. Kasatkina is the more fit player and she is used to playing long rallies. This is especially important, given that we don't even know if Raducanu is 100% healthy.
Pick: Kasatkina -2.5 Games (-110 via FanDuel)
Ons Jabeur (-700) vs. Ann Li(+440)
1 p.m. ET, Monastir
Ons Jabeur hasn't played since losing the US Open final against Iga Swiatek, but she is now playing in her home country of Tunisia. Nerves certainly got to Jabeur in New York, as she only won 45% of her service points in that final, hitting 14 winners compared to 33 unforced errors.
Now, Jabeur will have to deal with nerves once again against Li.
The Tunisian has showcased excellent variety, with precise backhand slices and drop shots. Jabeur is also able to dictate play with her forehand and hits her spots on serve, although she doesn't play with high margins.
Ann Li played fairly well in Tallinn last week, but ultimately fell 5-7, 5-7 to Kaia Kanepi in the second round. Li won 74% of her first-serve points, but only 39% of her second serves, getting broken five times. However, Li did break Kanepi's big serve on three occasions.
Li, who has struggled to stay healthy all year, has a deceptive 12-15 record this season (9-10 on hard courts). Her level was clearly improving in Tallinn, having beat Claire Liu in the first round before facing Kanepi. The American is a clean ball-striker who moves well and doesn't easily give up control of the baseline.
Jabeur is clearly the better player, but she will be nervous, causing her to become more erratic from the baseline than usual. She relies heavily on her touch shots, but as we saw during the US Open final, those shots can falter under pressure.
Li isn't a great player, but she moves well enough to effectively track down Jabeur's variety and won't allow the Tunisian to dominate from the baseline, given how Li positions herself on the court and her easy power from both wings.
18.5 games are just too few.
Pick: Over 18.5 Games (-130 via PointsBet)