WTA Tennis Picks, Predictions: Krunic Will Finish Dream Week in Budapest With a Title (July 17)
Credit: Zac Goodwin/PA Images. Pictured: Tennis player Aleksandra Krunic
It’s been an exciting week of tennis on the WTA Tour, and we are down to two players fighting for the title in both Lausanne and Budapest.
I’ve found value in both finals that we can exploit.
Read on for my best bets and previews.
Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Petra Martic (-198) vs. Olga Danilovic (+160)
7 a.m. ET
Petra Martic dismissed Caroline Garcia in the semifinals, defeating the Frenchwoman 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. Martic won 73% of her first-serve points while holding Garcia to just 65% of the points won on her first serve. Martic has dropped only that one set all tournament and beat World No. 13 Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals.
Martic has a 169-93 record on the dirt as a professional. The Croat has a powerful, heavy forehand that she uses to control the baseline, and her backhand slice takes the ball out of opponents’ strike zones. In addition, Martic is serving well this week, having won more than two-thirds of her first serves in every match so far in Lausanne.
Olga Danilovic had to qualify for Lausanne, but she hasn’t looked back, comfortably beating Anastasia Potapova 6-3, 6-2 to reach the final. Danilovic was very aggressive on return, winning 52% of her return points, including 79% on Potapova’s second serve.
It hasn’t been an easy road for Danilovic to the final. She had tight third sets against both Anna Kalinskaya in the round of 16 and Simona Waltert in the quarterfinals. Danilovic has a hit-or-miss, aggressive lefty game. She goes huge on her groundstrokes and wins or loses the points on her terms. Danilovic has a 94-37 career record on clay, with the slower conditions allowing her to effectively set up her big groundstrokes.
Danilovic will look to tee off on Martic’s second serve, as the Croat won only 41% of her second-serve points against Garcia.
However, Martic has the game to defuse Danilovic. Martic’s backhand slice can keep the ball low, out of Danilovic’s strike zone, leading to many unforced errors against the Serb.
In addition, Martic’s heavy, precise forehand will allow her to dictate play more often than Danilovic would like, making her play more defense than she’s comfortable with.
Martic’s overall Elo rating is 137 points better than Danilovic’s, and her clay-court Elo is 148.8 points better.
Pick: Martic -3.5 games (-102 via FanDuel)
Aleksandra Krunic (-143) vs. Bernarda Pera (+115)
9 a.m. ET
Bernarda Pera qualified for Budapest and has now won 12 straight sets, beating Anna Bondar 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals. Pera won 69% of her first-serve points against Bondar and was broken only twice all match. On return, Pera won 49% of her return points, including 59% of her second-serve return points.
Pera has been very effective in getting ahead in rallies on return by utilizing her forehand, a big reason why she’s won at least 49% of her return points in every match this week. However, the American can become erratic at times, especially on the backhand.
Overall, Pera is very effective on clay, with a 230-96 record on the dirt in her career.
Aleksandra Krunic, meanwhile, is on fire this week in Budapest, easily defeating Yulia Putintseva 6-2, 6-2 to make the final. Against Putintseva, Krunic won 67% of her service points and wasn’t broken all match. And she won 48% of her return points, including 55% on Putintseva’s second serve, allowing her to break serve four times.
Krunic has lost just 13 games this tournament and six games in the past three matches. Krunic has also not allowed any opponents more than 45% of their second serves against her this week. She’s playing with remarkably consistent depth from the baseline, and she’s showcasing how effective her variety can be, befuddling opponents with her slices and off-speed shot-making.
Krunic is also well-adapted to clay, with a 175-103 record on the surface as a professional.
Pera is very dangerous when the ball is in her strike zone. However, with Krunic’s slice, and with the utilization of different depths and angles on her groundstrokes, Pera will struggle to find a rhythm from the baseline.
Krunic will also be able to target Pera’s backhand, which will be the worst shot on the court. Pera’s backhand breaks down regularly, and Krunic is so precise in her groundstrokes that she will regularly be able to pin Pera in her backhand corner.
Pick: Krunic ML (-143 via PointsBet)