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US Open WTA Day 3 Betting Preview: Fitness and Conditioning Key on Another HOT Day

  • U.S. Open Day 3 WTA betting action starts at 11 a.m. ET in more scorching hot conditions in Queens.
  • Both Serena (-1550 vs. Carina Witthoeft) and Venus (-145 vs. Camila Giorgi) will be in action, with a potential third round all-Williams clash on the horizon.

The overarching story of the tournament so far is the weather. Monday was bearable, with highs hovering around 90 degrees, but Tuesday was brutal, with temperatures reaching the mid-90s with humidity around 50%.

Expect the WTA heat rule, which allows a 10-minute break between the second and third sets if requested by either player, to be in effect again on a day that might be even hotter than Tuesday.

Get ready for more fatigued and grueling tennis. Let’s analyze seven of Wednesday’s most intriguing WTA matches from a betting perspective — focusing a little extra on fitness and the conditions.


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Victoria Azarenka (-220) vs. Daria Gavrilova (+180)

Time: 11 a.m. ET
H2H: First meeting

Gavrilova served up a double-bagel (6-0, 6-0) in the first round against clay-court specialist Sara Sorribes Tormo. Azarenka had a more difficult time with the go-for-broke Viktoria Kuzmova, but still came through in straight sets behind a pretty solid serving performance.

Both players excel on defense and in the return game, which means we should see plenty of  long, grueling points. Gavrilova loves putting air under her ground strokes by hitting many moon balls, so it will be interesting to see if Azarenka aggressively counters or plays along.

Peak Azarenka would have no problem with Gavrilova, but the Belarusian is still finding her game, and Gavrilova can be a very frustrating opponent. If you’re a fan of emotion, tune into this match.

Elise Mertens (-300) vs. Vera Lapko (+250)

Time: 11 a.m. ET
H2H: Mertens leads 1-0 (2018 clay)

I would normally expect the more experienced Mertens to get through a young power hitter like Lapko with ease, but she looked off in the first round.

Mertens appears to still have a lingering shoulder/neck issue, as she took a medical timeout in the third set Monday to get that area massaged. (The Belgian had her shoulder taped throughout 11 matches over three summer tournaments.) Her ground strokes were all over the place, which is not ideal for a defensive player.

Lapko is a mercurial player who often plays too big, but she possesses the power to take down Mertens — who will be headed home if she doesn’t play sharper.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Elise Mertens in the first round at the 2018 U.S. Open

Julia Goerges (-165) vs. Ekaterina Makarova (+145)

Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
H2H: Makarova leads 2-1 (all on hard courts)

Goerges needed three sets to get by Anna Kalinskaya on Monday. The German fired 17 aces, but only finished with a subpar 54% first-serve percentage. Makarova also made a mess out of her first-round win over Heather Watson, needing three sets after leading by a set and a break.

Goerges easily got through Makarova (6-4, 6-2) last week in New Haven, but lost their two prior meetings (both on hard courts). After a horrible 7-12 stretch, Makarova has started to show signs of life with a respectable 8-5 record since Wimbledon.

Tough match to call, which obviously makes me look at the underdog. I do think the line is slightly inflated as a result of Goerges’ routine win in New Haven, but don’t forget that Goerges has lost in the first or second round in nine of her 11 U.S. Open appearances.

Venus Williams (-145) vs. Camila Giorgi (+125)

Time: 1 p.m. ET
H2H: Venus leads 1-0 (2015 Australian Open)

Venus really struggled Monday against Svetlana Kuznetsova. After blowing a large lead in the second set, Venus ended up playing for just under three hours in sweltering afternoon heat. I’m not sure the American, who looked weary throughout that match, can recover after such a grueling battle.

Giorgi, on the other hand, only needed a little over one hour to get of the court in a dominating win over Whitney Osuigwe. The Italian didn’t have her best serve, but she overwhelmed Osuigwe by attacking her vulnerable second serve — which I think she can replicate against Venus.

Venus won their only meeting, at the 2015 Australian Open, but Giorgi actually served for the match in the second set. Giorgi is in great form and should be fresher for a match that will take place during the hottest part of the day.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Venus Williams in her 2018 U.S. Open first-round match vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova

Karolina Pliskova (-270) vs. Ana Bogdan (+230)

Time: 2:15 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting

Pliskova won Monday, but it was anything but routine. She hit so many ground strokes right into the net and finished with 31 unforced errors. The Czech still lacks the confidence we saw in her run to the final here two years ago.

Bogdan quickly swatted Marie Bouzkova away (6-4, 6-2) in the first round and should have a shot in this one. The Romanian relies on her strong defense, which she will try to use to force Pliskova into long rallies.

Bogdan has had success against big hitters on a hard court recently, having defeated Danielle Collins and Giorgi earlier this year. Collins and Giorgi hit a flat ball similar to Pliskova’s.

At her current level, Pliskova remains vulnerable to an upset — and Bogdan has the game to pull it off.

Ashleigh Barty (-280) vs. Lucie Safarova (+240)

Time: 4:15 p.m. ET
H2H: First meeting

Both players got through their first-round matches in relatively easy fashion. Barty looked particularly impressive in an efficient 65-minute win over Ons Jabeur.

Safarova got through Petra Martic in straight sets (6-4, 6-4), but Barty is a major step up in class. Barty’s defense is on level with Martic, but the Aussie has much more offensive firepower. Safarova will have to play elite defense to hang with Barty, whose physical style should wear down Safarova in the brutal humidity.

Maria Sakkari (-170) vs. Sofia Kenin (+150)

Time: 4:15 p.m. ET
H2H: Kenin leads 1-0 (2018 Wimbledon)

These two met less than two months ago at Wimbledon, and Kenin won in three sets (6-4, 1-6, 6-1). However, Sakkari had a routine first-round win here, while Kenin had to battle Madison Brengle  into the third set, eventually pulling through in a tiebreaker.

Neither player is an elite server, but each plays sound defense. Sakkari, who is three years older with more experience, can ultimately turn defense to offense with more ease. Considering the Greek also has recent major revenge and didn’t work as hard Monday, I think she finds a way to move on.

That said, the line looks spot on. I do suspect we will see a very back-and-forth affair that live bettors should love.


Wednesday Best Bets

  • Giorgi +125
  • Bogdan +230 (.5 unit)
Credit:

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Victoria Azarenka

Follow Brett Farrenkopf on Twitter
@bmf1314
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