WTA Tennis Picks, Predictions: Davis Will Beat Errani From the Baseline (September 26)

WTA Tennis Picks, Predictions: Davis Will Beat Errani From the Baseline (September 26) article feature image

Via Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Lauren Davis of the United States plays a forehand against Ekaterina Alexandrova during their Women’s Singles Second Round match on Day Four of the 2022 US Open

We have two exciting WTA-Tour tournaments on deck this week, with action from the indoor hard courts of Tallinn and the outdoor clay of Parma.

I've found that two of Monday's matches present value we can exploit.

Read below for my analysis and predictions.

Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches and seeing tennis odds.

Marta Kostyuk (-125) vs.  Bernarda Pera (+100)

5:30 a.m. ET, WTA Tallinn

Marta Kostyuk hasn't played since Portoroz (hard court) a couple weeks ago, when she fell to the big-hitting Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-7(5), 7-5, 5-7. Kostyuk won 47% of her return points in that match but only 54% of her service points as she was broken seven times. However, Kostyuk is 79-43 as a professional on hard courts and can clearly play on the surface.

This season, Kostyuk is 17-10 on hard courts. Kostyuk plays power tennis from the baseline and is not afraid to go for her shots from either wing. Based on what I saw in qualifying, the courts in Tallinn are playing quick, and this suits Kostyuk's big-hitting game. However, there are times when the Ukrainian loses control of her groundstrokes.

Bernarda Pera has cooled off her since 16-match winning streak earlier this summer. In her most recent match on the quick US Open (hard) courts, Pera fell 4-6, 4-6 to Anhelina Kalinina. Pera struggled on serve in that match, putting just 48% of her first serves into play and winning only 57% of her first serve points when she was able to get it into play.

The majority of Pera's winning streak occurred on clay, where she has a 71% career winning percentage. However, Pera has only won 53% of her hard-court matches as a professional. The American's game relies on her heavy lefty forehand that controls the baseline. She has a fairly solid backhand, but she does most of her damage with her forehand.

The problem for Pera is she has a longer windup on her forehand, which means that opponents can rush her on quicker surfaces from that wing. That's what I look for Kostyuk to do.

Kostyuk will control the baseline on the quick Tallinn courts, not giving Pera time to set up on her forehand. The quick Tallinn courts play into Kostyuk's power game, and the American will find herself reacting, as opposed to imposing her tennis onto Kostyuk.

Pick: Kostyuk ML (-125 via PointsBet)

Lauren Davis (-136) vs. Sara Errani(+112)

1 p.m. ET, WTA Parma

Lauren Davis reached the semifinals of Budapest (clay) before losing 7-5, 5-7, 2-6 to Oceane Dodin in the quarterfinals. Davis broke Dodin's big serve six times in the match but was broken seven times on her own serve. Nevertheless, it was important clay-court preparation for Davis, as she hadn't played on clay since July.

Davis is now 9-8 on clay for the season, although she is 84-56 on the dirt as a professional. Davis moves well but is not afraid to step into the court and dictate play with her groundstrokes. While the American is only five foot two inches, she has good pop on her groundstrokes and can turn defense into offense effectively.

While Sara Errani had lost four of five matches going into Bucharest (clay) a couple weeks ago, she made the semifinals before falling to Irina Begu 2-6, 2-6. Errani only won 44% of her service points and 33% of her return points in that match, with Begu better in every facet of the game at this point in Errani's career.

Errani, a former French Open finalist, is 19-11 on clay for the season. However, those numbers don't tell the full story. The truth is, especially in the second half of 2022, Errani has looked noticeably slower and is not getting the placement of her groundstrokes that she's accustomed to.

Given the Italian's lack of power, this has made winning more difficult.

This will be a battle from the baseline with both players looking to out-maneuver the other. At this stage in Errani's career, I trust Davis's fitness more than Errani's. Errani will also find it difficult to hit through Davis from the baseline, given how well the American covers the court.

Davis also has power that Errani doesn't have and will do better when ramping up the pace on her groundstrokes.  Davis will control the baseline in this match and has the rally tolerance to avoid being baited into errors by Errani.

Pick: Davis ML (-136 via FanDuel)

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