WTA Wimbledon Thursday Betting Preview: Sloane Stephens on Upset Alert
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sloane Stephens
- The second round of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships continue on Thursday.
- Brett Farrenkopf takes a closer look at the women's card, including whether American Sloane Stephens could go down.
I really don’t see many upset betting opportunities on Thursday, which looks to be a formful day at Wimbledon.
One of the favorites for the title, Serena Williams, does meet an accomplished teenager in Kaja Juvan (+455). Juvan held her own against Kristyna Pliskova in round one and has the talent to at least compete with Serena, who is not in peak form. I wouldn’t blame anyone for backing the heavy underdog here.
Another potential underdog I considered was Kristina Mladenovic (+245) versus Petra Kvitova who is playing her second match since injuring herself in Rome at the end of May.
Kvitova is far more talented, but Mladenovic can hold her own on grass. She has a decent array of shots that can test Kvitova by getting the Czech on the move.
I’ll be rooting for Mladenovic for futures purposes, however, the 7-1 head-to-head lead for Kvitova will keep me off of the Frenchwoman. Plus, despite flashing a bit of form over the past couple months, Mladenovic hasn’t had any quality victories on grass.
I expect most of the other heavy favorites to advance, but their prices are just too high to back. Belinda Bencic (-365) might be the most playable but fading a big-hitting Kaia Kanepi in a single match could always backfire.
Monica Niculescu (+270) has the grass-court form to slice and dice her way to an upset over favored Elise Mertens. However, Mertens has handled Niculescu in both prior meetings. Due to her very sound movement, Mertens usually has no problems with crafty and tricky players like Niculescu.
This won’t be a high-volume betting day for me but I did find three WTA moneylines with value on Thursday.
Yafan Wang (+240) vs. Sloane Stephens
My line: Wang +200
Both players will take a big step up in competition in their second-round matches.
Considering her lack of grass-court form, Wang looked impressive in her win on Tuesday over Tereza Martincova. She took advantage when needed and hit 23 winners in total. She will need that aggression against Stephens.
Stephens took care of Timea Bacsinszky with ease on Tuesday but her overall play was less than stellar against a player that prefers the clay. The American will need to pick up her level against a much more aggressive Wang.
Stephens has never been great on the lawn. She did reach the quarterfinals here once before (and third round twice) — but a player of her quality has high expectations in Grand Slams.
Stephens’ issue on grass is her defensive, counter-punching style can be exploited against a more aggressive player on the quick Wimbledon grass. Wang has the style and talent to put together a one match performance good enough to take out the No. 9 seed.
Another key to this match is Wang starting hot. Stephens tends to start matches slow, so as long as Wang starts aggressively, she can put Stephens in a hole early. Once Stephens gets into rhythm, she’s difficult to beat on any surface.
I have Wang priced as a +200 underdog, so think she’s worth a shot at anything over +200. Fading a favored Stephens on her least favorite surface in an early round is never a bad bet.
Beatriz Haddad Maia (-215) vs. Harriet Dart
My line: Haddad Maia -250
Haddad Maia is simply a much better player, especially on grass.
She didn’t play great on Tuesday but still took care of a quality opponent in former Wimbledon champ Garbine Muguruza in straight sets. On the other hand, Dart struggled in one of the ugliest first-round matches against Christina McHale — who does not thrive on this surface.
Ultimately, Haddad Maia has much more class on grass and should force Dart into multiple errors, whether forced or unforced. The Brazilian can also take away the pace that Dart can generate and win most of the longer rallies.
Barbora Strycova (-430) vs. Laura Siegemund (+350)
My line: Strycova -500
I’m parlaying Haddad Maia with Strycova.
Simply put, I’m fading a clay-court specialist while backing a quality grass court player who has shown solid form on the surface this summer.
Siegemund is vying for just her seventh win on grass (and fourth in the main draw of a tournament) in her 17-year career. Meanwhile, Strycova owns a 57-34 record on grass in her 16-year career and has advanced past the Wimbledon second round five prior times.
Strycova was very sound in her first-round match, cruising by No. 32 seed Lesia Tsurenko on Tuesday. And she has already defeated Heather Watson, Su-Wei Hsieh and Kristyna Pliskova on grass this year. All three players would be considerable favorites over Siegemund.
Wimbledon WTA Thursday Betting Summary
- Yafan Wang +240
- Haddad-Maia/Strycova moneyline parlay