WTA World Tour 250 Series: Citi Open

Outright women's betting preview for Wimbeldon 2017

We take a look at the WTA World Tour 250 event - the Citi Open to be played in Washington D.C which started on 31 July 2017..

This week sees the WTA having a shared-tour-stop, which always offers an intriguing dichotomy between the male and female tour. The WTA event is a far smaller event in comparison to the ATP one. This is reflected in the fact that the WTA event is a 32-woman event that encompasses five rounds, compared to the 48-man, six round event for the men. It’s also only part of the 250 series and is thus likely to attract far less fanfare then the other events.

There are, however, a number of plotlines and intrigues that make it worth more than just a casual glance. The event takes place at the William H.G Fitzgerald Tennis Center in Washington. The 15 hard courts are all outdoor, which could prove troublesome with temperatures expected to reach around 105 degrees Fahrenheit for much of the tournament. So expect the players with night matches to perhaps have something of an advantage.
WTA Tour 250: Citi Open | 31 July - 6 August | William H.G Fitzgerald Tennis Center, Washington D.C

Past Winners
2016: Yanina Wickmayer
2015: Sloane Stephens 
2014: Svetlana Kuznetsova
2013: Magdalena Rybarrikova
2012: Magdalena Rybarikova

The clear favourite for the event will be Romanian starlet Simone Halep. Winner of 15 WTA titles, World No.2 Halep has decided to eschew the more star-studded event in Stanford in favour of this slightly more low-key event. She knows that she is only 185 ranking points behind Karolina Pliskova in the world rankings: which are otherwise known as the no-Serena jamboree. Halep is clearly hoping to exploit a weakened field and close the gap on Pliskova. So there should be no shortage of motivation for a woman who has been playing solid tennis without really grasping the chasm left by the younger Williams sister.

She defended her title in Madrid, and she also reached the finals in Rome and Roland Garros. She came within two points of beating Johanna Konta at Wimbledon: two points that would have seen her claim the number one ranking in the world. One substantial obstacle for Halep will be former champion and resurgent American hopeful Sloane Stephens. After spending more than a year on the side-lines after foot surgery, Stephens made a rather inauspicious return to action with a first round defeat to compatriot Alison Riske at Wimbledon.

So it is quite difficult to see how Stephens could possibly overcome her first round encounter with Halep. But there are some interesting side-notes to that query. Stephens actually leads Halep 3-2 in their head-to-head record, which includes two comfortable straight set victories. Furthermore, Stephens won her maiden WTA Title in 2015 here and still boasts a decent hard-court record this year: 12-6. So the woman ranked 926 in the world rankings could be a decent outside bet to at least take a set off of Help, if not send the number one hopeful crashing.

My Picks

Kristina Mladenovic
The Frenchwoman has been the model of consistency this season without quite taking the next step. The industrious Mladenovic has entered 15 tournaments this year, making here the female equivalent of Dominic Thiem this year. Of those 15 events, she has at least made the quarter-final stage on 8 occasions, which bodes well for her considering the relative weakness of this field. The 24 year old has recorded 37 wins this season and is currently sitting pretty in 9th place in the race to Singapore.

Julia Goerges
20 year-old Daria Kasatkina looks to be a worthy sleeper this week. The Russian has accounted for World No.1 Angelique Kerber twice this season and won her first WTA Title by bagging the Volvo Car Open in South Carolina. For me, however, Julia Goerges looks a more enticing option. She is coming off a final defeat in Bucharest last week, where she eventually lost to hometown favourite Irina-Camelia Begu. She also reached the final in Mallorca a week before her really disappointing appearance at Wimbledon. She lost in the first round there in a nail-biting three-setter to Lesia Tsurenko. But she has played some steady tennis this season and currently holds a win loss ratio of 27-16 this season. The German- currently ranked 45th in the world- is rapidly improving and will be looking to break into the top 30 sooner rather than later.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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