Our tennis betting expert Derek Bilton is back with tips for this week’s WTA events in Charleston and Monterrey.
No fewer than five former champions feature in this year’s Volvo Car Open draw, including both top seeds in Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens.
Bertens won the event last year after playing her semi and final on the same day due to rain, and went on to enjoy a stellar 2018 as she established herself as a top 10 player.
The Belgian defeated Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-1 in a fabulous display of power hitting in last year’s final. She is a proven performer on clay and it’s little wonder the bookies have her as favourite this week.
An impressive field has assembled in Charleston however, with the in-form Belinda Bencic, former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, Madison Keys and Caroline Wozniacki all set to feature.
Aryna Sabalenka is also among the favourites but she’s not kicked on in 2019 after a fine end to last year. The Belarus powerhouse has done well in several high profile doubles events this season, but in singles action she has been too erratic.
Talking of erratic, Sloane Stephens is having a poor season by her own high standards, and is currently 6-6 in 2019. A fourth round showing at the Australian Open apart, results have been poor.
However she remains super talented and is still a world class athlete. She’s also produced some of her best work on US soil.
In 2017 she took down the US Open and of the six WTA singles titles she has to her name, four have been won in America. She’s reached the quarter-finals or better at all of the Grand Slams and is a class act on clay, which she still regards as her favourite surface.
Stephens is a fine defensive player who also possesses real power in her ground strokes. The 26-year-old is exciting to watch, a player who likes to flatten out her shots and go for big winners.
Stephens doesn’t have any point to defend in Charleston since she didn’t play last year, but she won the tournament back in 2016. At 26 she should be at the peak of her powers and given her natural gifts her luck should change sooner rather than later. At 11/1 she could be worth a punt this week to be the last player standing in a quality field.
The draw for this week’s other WTA event in Monterrey does not look nearly as strong, with Angelique Kerber a warm order in the betting. She’s twice made the final in Mexico (2013 and 2017) but has yet to land a title won by Garbine Muguruza last year.
Spain’s Muguruza has struggled for consistency over the last 12 months however and looking at the betting it could pay to once again follow Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The Russian is a four-time champion in Mexico and has a hugely impressive 22-2 lifetime record at the event overall. She is well drawn this year and having gone so well here in the past looks impossible to ignore at 16/1.
Bilko’s Banker: Sloane Stephens to win the Volvo Car Open at 11/1 (888 Sport – and more available)
Best of the Rest: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to win the Abierto GNP Seguros at 16/1 (bet365)
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