WTA Toronto Tennis Picks, Predictions: Pegula Will Play Halep Tough (August 13)
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Jessica Pegula
We are into the semifinals of WTA Toronto, with four competitors vying for the WTA 1000 title.
I’ve found betting value on two of Saturday's semifinal matches and provide my best bets and breakdowns below.
Read on to see where I'm putting my money ahead of the semis.
Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Simona Halep (-245) vs. Jessica Pegula (+178)
1 p.m. ET
Simona Halep failed to serve out the second set twice, but she ended up beating Coco Gauff 6-4, 7-6(2). Halep returned very well, holding Gauff to 47% of her return points won and breaking six times.
However, Halep will need to clean up her own service games, winning just 60% of her first serves and 38% of her second serves against Gauff.
In Halep's career, she's 321-143 on hard, including a 20-5 record this season. Halep is quick and anticipates well, making her hard to hit through. She controls the baseline well with her heavy, well-placed backhand.
The Romanian can leave groundstrokes short at times, however, and has patches of unforced errors.
Jessica Pegula hit through Yulia Putintseva in her 6-3, 6-3 quarterfinal victory. Despite Putintseva's ability to get a lot of returns in play, Pegula won 82% of her first serves and wasn't broken. She also won 44% of her return points, generating 10 break points during the match.
Pegula is 211-125 as a professional on hard courts, which includes a 16-9 record in 2022. Pegula is consistent and gets good depth on her groundstrokes. She is strong at the net and hits her flatter groundstrokes into precise areas of the court., Because of this, she can overhit on her groundstrokes at times.
The American did a great job against Putintseva of hanging in rallies for long periods and waiting for her opportunities to attack. This rally tolerance will be very important against a player with the skill set of Halep. Pegula was staying in control of her game, even when Putintseva was baiting her to press on her groundstrokes.
Halep is also leaving her groundstrokes too short in the court, which should allow Pegula to dictate play more often than the Romanian would like. Pegula's offensive game is looking strong this week and she's playing with controlled aggression.
Pick: Pegula +3.5 Games (-106 via FanDuel)
Karolina Pliskova (-122) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (+100)
6 p.m. ET
Karolina Pliskova recovered from a set deficit to defeat Qinwen Zheng 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. She was able to break Zheng's big serve five times during the match. On her own serve, the Czech won 71% of her first-serve points and hit ten aces in the match.
However, Pliskova only won 35% of her second-serve points and hit eight double faults against Zheng. That's now 16 double faults combined dating back to her previous match against Maria Sakkari.
She has a big first serve and aggressive, flatter groundstrokes that she places well. On the other hand, Pliskova does have stretches where she struggles with her rally tolerance and her movement isn't great either.
Beatriz Haddad Maia backed up her victory over Iga Swiatek by beating Belinda Bencic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Haddad Maia won 52% of her second-serve return points and broke four times in the last two sets. In addition, Haddad Maia won 75% of her first serves, although she won just 34% of her second serves.
Haddad Maia has an impressive 42-15 record in 2022, including an 18-8 mark on hard courts. Overall, Haddad Maia is 183-82 on hard courts as a professional.
The Brazilian's heavy, lefty game is so effective in controlling the baseline. She's solid from both wings, but dictates play particularly well with her forehand. Haddad Maia is also strong at the net. Her backhand can break down on occasions, though.
It's hard to go against Haddad Maia in this form. She's hitting her groundstrokes with such ferocity and with good control.
Haddad Maia has done a great job of finding forehands and hiding her backhand and I look for that to continue against Pliskova. The Brazilian should be able to pin Pliskova in her backhand corner.
Pliskova was also the final match on the court last night and her match lasted over 2.5 hours, so fatigue could be a factor.
Pick: Haddad Maia ML (+100 via PointsBet)