WTA Tour: US Open Ro128 Preview

Tennis player holds racquet

Damien Kayat previews selected Round of 128 matches coming our way from the women's draw of the US Open!

Caroline Garcia 17/20 | Johanna Konta 17/20
This really represents a clash of two players struggling for consistency of late. Garcia pulled out of double’s competition to focus on single’s events this year, though one wouldn’t really tell when you look at her post-clay-court antics. She started the year fairly well, reaching the Round of 16 in Melbourne before back-to-back quarter-finals in Dubai and Qatar. But it was on clay that she really ignited her season. She reached back-to-back semi-finals at the Charleston Open and Madrid Open. She then reached the quarters in Rome before a decent enough Round of 16 run at Roland Garros. But since then her form has stagnated. An opening round loss at Wimbledon was followed by a rather ignominious US Open Series. Losses to the likes of Sabalenka and Puig highlight her problems of recent.

If anything, Johanna Konta has had a more disappointing campaign that Garcia. She started the season with a quarterfinal in Brisbane before Round of 16 runs in Qatar and Dubai. She had an encouraging turn in Miami, narrowly losing to Venus Williams in a tight three-setter in the Round of 16 stage. She then had a really encouraging Round of 16 showing on her least preferred clay surface in Rome. She started the grass-court season in terrific mode, reaching the final ion Nottingham, setting up a hugely disappointing couple of weeks culminating in a poor Round of 64 finish at Wimbledon. Her hardcourt season has also been unsettled by poor form and injury: she had to pull out of her Round of 16 match in New Haven last week.

These players are certainly no strangers to each other. Konta leads the head-to-head 3-2, Konta also won their last match at Wimbledon last season, though she was in much finer form during that period. Konta was last year’s Miami Champion and will be hoping that her huge serve is able to win her many cheap points. I think that her general success on the hard courts may see her emerge victorious against a similarly out of sorts Garcia. 

Kiki Bertens 1/5 | Kristyna Pliskova 3/1
Kiki Bertens has emerged from the general consensus that she is little more than a clay-court specialist this year. She started the year in really anonymous fashion before the tour moved to her favourite surface: clay. She then won the Charleston event before reaching her first Premier Mandatory Final in Madrid. She then surprised many with an excellent run to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. Following that run, she reached the quarter-finals at Canada before picking up the biggest win of her career to date. She won in Cincinnati, overcoming a slightly horrific draw in the process. She beat Vandeweghe, Wozniacki, Kontaveit, Svitolina, Kvitova and Halep in the process of claiming that title. Bertens has truly emerged as an all-court prospect who justifiably enters this event as something of a dark horse contender.

You have to feel for Kristyna Pliskova, twin sister to former World Number One Karoline Pliskova. At least in the case of Venus Williams she has the little matter of seven Grand Slam Singles Titles to placate Serena’s superiority. Her season started in utter mediocrity until, weirdly enough, the clay-court season came into swing. She reached the quarter-finals in Charleston and had a run to the quarters in her home open in Prague. She also reached the Round of 16 in Madrid and Round of 32 in Birmingham. Pliskova has reached ten finals on hardcourts on the ITF surface, while she did win a WTA Title on the Uzbekistani hardcourts in 2016.

Kiki Bertens leads the career head-to-head 3-2, which importantly includes their last two matches. Considering Pliskova’s penchant for hardcourts over her career, perhaps it would be worth your while to chance a Bertens 2-1 victory at 28/10. Pliskova is also a lefty, which always brings a slightly awkward challenge for opponents. So perhaps it may take Bertens a little time to unlock this one. It’s certainly the only value I see in a match with Bertens currently sitting at 1/5. 

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Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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