Jessica Pegula vs Polona Hercog: Wuhan Day 1 Best Bets

Tennis Pilot

Saturday, September 21, 2019 8:07 PM UTC

Saturday, Sep. 21, 2019 8:07 PM UTC

Hardcourt specialist Pegula can continue Hercog’s misery away from the clay

<div><p>Jessica Pegula vs Polona Hercog</p><p>Sunday, September 22, Wuhan</p><p>Sunday sees the opening round of the Wuhan Open and we have 9 matches on the schedule. The highlight matches sees defending champion Sabalenka priced 1.36 against her compatriot Sasnovich. All the remaining favourites are priced between 1.57 and 1.91 with 5 between 1.8 and 1.9 so it’s a tricky day for those looking for value underdogs.</p><p>Sabalenka has her issues with consistency but she stormed through Wuhan last year as favourite in every match and it seems likely she’ll get off to a winning start. Sasnovich has the ability to test the best and I wouldn’t be surprised if she managed a set but it’s not a match where I’m keen to get involved.</p><p>Wild card and home hope Xiyu Wang takes on Barbora Strycova in what is an intriguing match up. On first glance, I would say the favourite seems long but Strycova has looked a little vulnerable in 2019 and Wang has an excellent record as underdog. The big question is whether Wang can trouble the best as she has a 0-3 record against the top 50, though she notably took Kasatkina to a deciding set tiebreak in Wuhan last year priced 4.33. Still, Wang is only 2.63 and at the prices, I can’t help but feel this is reasonably well adjusted to recent form and upside potential.</p><p>Stephens may well have her chances as underdog against Zhang but the prices are a good measure of her poor form. She is a former slam champion with a very high peak but nothing recent suggests she is likely to rekindle that form. Stephens has won just 1 of her 5 underdog matches in 2019 but equally, she is the superior player on any decent form. I couldn’t bring myself to get involved with either player at these prices which seem well adjusted once again.</p><p>Pegula/Hercog and Williams/Collins are virtual pick ‘ems with Pegula and Collins enjoying ever so slight favouritism. I couldn’t choose between Williams and Collins but I am surprised that Pegula isn’t shorter against Hercog. Pegula comes into this on the back of four straight losses as favourite which perhaps explains the price, but it’s easy to forget that in July she won the title in Washington despite being the underdog in 4 of her 5 matches. She also has far superior stats on hardcourt over the last year with a 113.8% hold/break compared to Hercog’s 96.6% - that’s a 17.2% difference, which would usually imply a far larger difference in match odds.</p><p>Pegula has been a value player to back in similar situations winning 29 of her last 50 priced 1.5 to 2.99 on hard for a 13.1% ROI and 10 of 15 in 2019 while Hercog has won just 18 of her last 50 at this price range for a -30.6% ROI and 3 of 12 in 2019. Hercog has a big game and can threaten the best but struggles for consistency especially on hard courts and it shows in</p><p>her results. Pegula, by contrast, plays her best tennis on hard courts and should be looking to bounce back after a poor couple of weeks.</p><p>I would have priced her more like 1.72 and the raw stats would be even more optimistic so at 1.91 it’s an easy bet. On a day which looks tough for value seekers, I’ll stick to just the one selection.</p><p>Best bet: Jessica Pegula at 1.91 with <a href=";a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">William Hill</a></p></div>
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