WTA Wuhan Open: Picks and Predictions

Tennis Pilot

Saturday, September 21, 2019 7:06 PM UTC

Saturday, Sep. 21, 2019 7:06 PM UTC

Bencic can back up her excellent form in New York with a strong showing in Wuhan

<p>WTA Wuhan Open</p><p>Sunday, September 22, Wuhan</p><p>On to week 39 of the women’s tour and we’re in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China for the 6th edition of the Wuhan Open, one of the 21 Premier tournaments on the WTA Tour. Conditions are medium to fast and the weather is hot and dry. The field is fittingly high quality with 6 of the world’s top 10 in attendance and it looks a tough ask for anyone this week with no obvious weak section of the draw. Notably, 16 of the 17 Premier tournaments so far in 2019 have been won by top 20 players and the highest-ranked winner of Wuhan so far is 24.</p><div><h2>Quarter 1</h2><p>The top of the draw is headed by world number 1 Ashleigh Barty with Bencic, Keys and Kenin the other seeds in her quarter. Barty has looked vulnerable recently and has fitness concerns but is generally a model of consistency and clearly a strong contender this week at 11. Keys is always a threat but retried last out and has general consistency issues so looks short at 21. Kenin has really come into her own this year and comes into this on the back of a title in Guangzhou but prices have clearly adjusted with the American as short as 19. Bencic is a top 10 player, giant slayer and had an excellent week at the US Open so she has clear appeal on form and history at 21.</p><h2>Quarter 2</h2><p>The second quarter is headed by Halep with Bertens, Sabalenka, and Vekic rounding up the seeds. Halep has fitness concerns and tends to play her best tennis at the majors notably taking the Wimbledon title in 2019. Nonetheless, she enjoys almost joint favouritism at 11 alongside Barty with Pliskova ever so slightly shorter at 9. She is likely to contend this week but feels no value given the context. Bertens has been in poor form and is someone I would look to oppose but she is priced 34 outright so the bookies are adjusting to her level. Sabalenka is defending champion but has been disappointing in 2019.</p><p>Given her ability to have hot runs she has some appeal but the field this year is significantly more difficult than last and I am not convinced she is any value at 26. Vekic has been very consistent in 2019 and has the pedigree to go deep this week but she struggles against the elite and, despite 41 feeling a touch long, I’m unconvinced she has what it takes to go the whole way.</p><h2>Quarter 3</h2><p>The third quarter is headed by Svitolina with Wang, Kerber, and Wozniaki the other seeds in her quarter. Svitolina is another one with fitness concerns having retired last out – you can tell we’re nearing year end. She is easily avoided at 15. Wang is a strong performer on tour</p><p>but struggles against the top 20 and in the latter stage of tournaments. While 41 appeals and she is a top 20 player, I dislike backing players later in their career (she is 27) when they’ve shown consistently that they struggle with the elite. Kerber has been in dire form this year and, while she looked better last out, I doubt she will contend this week and I’m certainly happy to avoid her at 21. Wozniaki has also been relatively poor this year and in Wuhan in the past. I doubt she still has the level to go deep this week so she has little appeal even at 41.</p><p><span style="color:inherit;font-family:inherit;font-size:1.2em;font-weight:700">Quarte</span><span style="color:inherit;font-family:inherit;font-size:1.2em;font-weight:700">r 4</span></p><p>The final quarter is headed by world number 2 Pliskova with Kvitova, Stephens, and Sevastova the other seeds in her quarter. Pliskova comes into this in good form on the back of a title in Zhengzhou and she seems a justified tournament favourite at 9 but no value. Kvitova can be a formidable opponent and is a 2 time champion in Wuhan (last in 2016) but after her famous knife attack she has (understandably) struggled for consistency.</p><p>She also has poor immediate form so 17 seems about right. Stephens has been poor recently and while she would contend on peak form I am happy to avoid her at 41. Sevastova has been underwhelming in 2019, has a poor record against the elite and has lost all 3 matches in Wuhan so again she’s easily avoided at 51.</p><h2>Verdict</h2><p>As often with these elite-level events, there are very few players who are both an appealing price and fit the bill of being a top 20 player, fit and in decent form. All things considered, one player stands out - Belinda Bencic. While 21 doesn’t jump out as value, two of the seeds in her quarter have fitness concerns, as does Halep, her slated semi-final opponent, yet two of those players are half of Bencic’s price. Bencic lost out in two tight sets to eventual champion Andreescu after taking down Osaka at the US Open.</p><p>The event should suit Bencic who is a shot-maker so the hot, clear conditions will make her more difficult to defend. I would expect her to defeat Alexandrova and Keys to make the quarter and while Barty has excellent defensive capabilities it is a very tough ask to hold off Bencic in form. Halep is her slated semi-final opponent and, even if she is fit, Bencic should have excellent chances (the H2H is 2-2). The key with Bencic is to catch her in good form and that seems the be the case currently. I would have put her more in the range of Svitolina, around 15, so at 21 she’s clear value in my opinion and our selection this week.</p><p>Best bets: Belinda Bencic at 21 with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=b4150791-892f-469b-9b6a-7dfc6df0fb07&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Ladbrokes</a></p></div>
comment here