WTA Zhuhai Elite Trophy 2019 Outright Preview and Betting Predictions


Monday, October 21, 2019 6:36 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 21, 2019 6:36 PM UTC

The WTA Elite Trophy field and groups have all been set, join us as we break it down to find the best outright selections for this year´s tournament!
<p style="text-align:center"> </p><div><h2 style="text-align:center"><b>Trends and conditions</b></h2><p> </p><p>With the 2019 WTA season more or less wrapped up, the focus turns to the two year-ending Championships. Only those who have distinguished themselves as among the world´s elite will get the chance to play these extra tournaments, win big prize money and accumulate valuable ranking points to count towards their yearly yield. The top 8-ranked players will play the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, while the 11 best ranked players not making it there and one wild card will play the Elite Trophy. Zhuhai is a fairly new event, this edition being the fifth. Previous Champions include Venus Williams, Petra Kvitova, Julia Görges and last year it was Ashleigh Barty who hoisted the trophy.</p><p><br />$2,419,844 in prize money is on the line, with $500,000 and 460 ranking points going to the winner, along with what they´ve earned throughout the Round Robin stage. The event is taking place at the state of the art Hengqin International Tennis Center with its 17 courts, specifically designed to host the Elite Trophy. Played on Plexicushion outdoor hard courts that have proven to be incredibly slow and higher bouncing, some ATP players expressed their displeasure when the ATP Tour played a 250 event there about a month ago:<br /><br />“The players, we die on court because we have to play 30 or 40 balls every point,” Roberto Bautista Agut said. “I think it's good for the spectators, but it's not good for us.”<br /><br />So, with that, without further ado let´s get into the group stage!</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;📢 2019 &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/WTAElitetrophy?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#WTAElitetrophy&lt;/a&gt; singles players !! 👇👏👏best luck to you all at &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/Zhuhai?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#Zhuhai&lt;/a&gt; ! &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/kikibertens?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@kikibertens&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/SabalenkaA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@SabalenkaA&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/Madison_Keys?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@Madison_Keys&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/PetraMartic1991?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@PetraMartic1991&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/DonnaVekic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@DonnaVekic&lt;/a&gt;&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/Riske4rewards?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@Riske4rewards&lt;/a&gt;&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/SofiaKenin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@SofiaKenin&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/elise_mertens?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@elise_mertens&lt;/a&gt;&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/mariasakkari?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@mariasakkari&lt;/a&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Karolina Muchova &lt;br /&gt;Dayana Yastremska &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/Zheng_Saisai?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@Zheng_Saisai&lt;/a&gt;&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@WTA&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/WETZ19?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#WETZ19&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/m8KNQWBwRO\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/m8KNQWBwRO&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— WTA Elite Trophy (@WTAEliteTrophy) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTAEliteTrophy/status/1186141487127388161?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;October 21, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><h2><b>The Group Stage</b></h2><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Singles Draw &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/WTAEliteTrophy?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#WTAEliteTrophy&lt;/a&gt; &lt;br /&gt;👇&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@WTA&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/aQ67tMpgQj\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/aQ67tMpgQj&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— WTA Elite Trophy (@WTAEliteTrophy) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTAEliteTrophy/status/1186173038728925189?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;October 21, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><p>As you can see the format in this tournament differs from the single elimination format we traditionally see in tournaments, and the 12 players are instead divided into four groups with three players each. Playing once against the other two players in the group, the group winners advance to a single elimination semifinal, where the winners face in the final. In the case of a tie-breaker between players in the group stage, here are how they are resolved:</p><p><strong>Tiebreakers:</strong></p><p><i>1. Greatest number of wins.</i></p><p><i>2. Greatest number of matches played.</i></p><p><i>3. </i><b><i>In case of a 2-way tie:</i></b></p><p><i>Head-to-head results</i></p><p><b><i>In case of a 3-way tie:</i></b></p><p><i>Percentage of sets won</i></p><p><i>Head-to-head results</i></p><p><i>Percentage of games won</i></p><p><i>Head-to-head results</i></p><p><strong><i>Finals Rankings</i></strong></p><p>Now, without any further ado, let´s break down the four groups!</p><p><strong>Round Robin - Azalea:</strong></p><p>[1]Kiki Bertens<br />[8]Donna Vekic<br />[10]Dayana Yastremska<br /><br />Kiki Bertens will certainly feel wounded to even be in this tournament. The Dutchwoman had looked well set to play Shenzhen for most of the year, only to be leapfrogged by Belinda Bencic at the very last moment in Moscow and lose out on qualification.<br /><br />All hope isn´t lost though as she´s indeed the first alternate to play the WTA Finals, but the world no. 10 will only get to count the best result if playing both - and has 625 points to defend from last year. Knowing her luck, Bertens wasn´t surprise to draw a nightmare opponent in Donna Vekic, who´s pushed the Dutchwoman hard in all six H2H matchups, which the pair have split.<br /><br />The rising world no. 20 has however struggled for form lately, as well as against the cream of the crop, going 7-20 against top 10 players. She´s lost her last six of those in a row - two of those losses being against Bertens herself. Dayana Yastremska is another rising young star, but the heavy hitting Ukranian 19-year old often finds herself wanting in those situations as well, going 1-5 in her career against top-10 opposition, and is vulnerable as she´s still very inconsistent. If Kiki Bertens can find her best tennis, she makes the semifinals.</p><p><b><i>Predicted semifinalist:</i> </b>[1]Kiki Bertens</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Kiki Bertens &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTAEliteTrophy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@WTAEliteTrophy&lt;/a&gt;: \"I gave everything over the last few weeks, every opportunity I got I took it, I think I played every week, but it was not enough to make Shenzhen.&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;\"But I think it's still a great season. I did everything I could, so I'm proud of myself.\" &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/dCXktvnQet\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/dCXktvnQet&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTA_insider/status/1186199841849790464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;October 21, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><p><strong>Round Robin - Camellia:</strong></p><p>[2]Sofia Kenin<br />[7]Alison Riske<br />[11]Karolina Muchova</p><p>The second group is spearheaded by Sofia Kenin, and the 20-year old American has had a brilliant year which saw her win three titles in Hobart, Mallorca and Guangzhou. She also made back-to-back semifinals in Toronto and Cincinnati. A skilled counterpuncher who´s gone well over the late season Asian Swing, she´ll be dangerous in these conditions. However, her group won´t be easy, with fellow American Alison Riske enjoying a career year. Winning her second career title in Hertogenbosch, Riske has traditionally enjoyed quite a lot of success on this continent. At non-grass WTA tournaments, five of the seven finals the world no. 19 has made have come in China.<br /><br />However, Alison has had the most success on grass and slicker, lower bouncing conditions and won´t find these conditions as enjoyable for her flat hitting game. Lastly we have Karolina Muchova, the Czech 23-year old phenom who is making big waves this season. The skilled all-around player recently won her first career title in Seoul, and is in fantastic form. Possessing the skill to hang with the very best, as shown by beating Karolina Pliskova at Wimbledon as a massive underdog earlier this year, Muchova should come in here with confidence.<br /><br />We have very few H2H meeting in this group, with the only one contested between any of the players being a three set-thriller win for Riske over Muchova in the first round of Hertogenbosch. Kenin is being priced up as the warm favourite here but looks vulnerable in what I view as a wide open group. It looks a great chance for Muchova to get the better of Riske and her younger opponent however, and make the semifinals.</p><p><b><i>Predicted semifinalist:</i> </b>[11]Karolina Muchova</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Using all the variety that makes her one of the most exciting young players to watch, 22yo Karolina Muchova makes her 1st second week at a Slam, defeating No.20 Anett Kontaveit 76(7) 63. &lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;All-Czech R16 vs. Pliskova.&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#Wimbledon&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/bwpQjIVAK7\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/bwpQjIVAK7&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTA_insider/status/1147145686909095937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;July 5, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><p><strong>Round Robin - Orchid:</strong></p><p>[3]Madison Keys<br />[5]Petra Martic<br />[12][WC] Zheng Saisai</p><p>After a few weeks sidelined with a left foot injury, Madison Keys returns fit and firing for the Elite Trophy. Often plauged by injuries and inconsistency, the American is truly a brilliant player when in form. She showed as much when coming in putrid form to Cincinnati, and ended up playing flawless tennis to win the title, and starting a nine-match win streak carrying over into the US Open as a result. Possessing the kind of easy power becoming the subject of envy, the world no. 13 has the power to hit through anyone, and will be keen to make it out of the group stage this year after failing twice before.<br /><br />With Keys in this group is Petra Martic. The Croat has quietly put together a career best season, consistently going deep in most tournaments and thus reaching a career high world no. 15 ranking. While at her very best on the red dirt, Martic is certainly capable on faster surfaces with her variety and change of pace beguiling opponents. Recently making the Zhengzhou final where she lost to Karolina Pliskova, and the Wuhan quarterfinal losing to Ashleigh Barty - the Croat is in good form.<br /><br />However, she lacks a big weapon that can give her an edge against the very best, and it shows. Only on four occasions in 32 attempts has she beaten a top 10 player and only on 15 occasions in 59 attempts has she beaten a top 20 player. Chinese wild card Zheng Saisai rounds out the group, making big waves as she won a maiden title in San José earlier this summer. Playing an extremely crafty off-pace game she´s been able to cause many players severe headaches and frustrate them into errors. However, Zheng hasn´t done much since winning that title, and looks set for a very tough matchup against both opponents here. Madison Keys is the best player in the group, and expect her to take advantage and book a semifinal spot.</p><p><b><i>Predicted semifinalist:</i> </b>[3]Madison Keys</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;An early bird at &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/Zhuhai?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#Zhuhai&lt;/a&gt;! 😁✈️&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/Madison_Keys?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@Madison_Keys&lt;/a&gt; practicing at Hengqin &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tennis?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#Tennis&lt;/a&gt; Center.&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@WTA&lt;/a&gt;&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/WETZ19?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#WETZ19&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/h16Rs5xsWr\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/h16Rs5xsWr&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— WTA Elite Trophy (@WTAEliteTrophy) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTAEliteTrophy/status/1184765515639558144?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;October 17, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><p><strong>Round Robin - Rose:</strong></p><p>[4]Aryna Sabalenka<br />[6]Elise Mertens<br />[9]Maria Sakkari</p><p>In the final group, Aryna Sabalenka headlines proceedings. "The Tiger" has had another solid year on tour, including two titles. Something about China just seems to bring out the best from the Belarussian, who has won three of her five career titles on Chinese soil. That includes defending her Wuhan crown one month ago, becoming the first woman to do so since its introduction. Possessing an incredibly powerful game that can blast anyone into smithereens, controlling that power and aggression is key to her success. Defending the title in Wuhan did prove costly in Beijing as Sabalenka fell in the first round to Daria Kasatkina, but she´ll be ready to go well here after 3 weeks off.<br /><br />Joining the world no. 14 is Elise Mertens. Mertens and Sabalenka have partnered up to win <b>four </b>doubles titles this year, including hoisting the recent US Open and Wuhan trophies. The Belgian is a fantastic, smooth hitter and can outmaneuver many players on tour enroute to victory. On the singles court it´s been a good year for the world no. 18, recently reaching the quarterfinals and taking a set off evenmtual Champion Bianca Andreescu. Then Mertens made the Osaka semifinal, losing again to eventual Champion Naomi Osaka.<br /><br />Oftenmost that is the problem for the talented 23-year old, who goes on great runs but gets stopped by an elite opponent. Going 6-15 against top 10 players and 13-33 against top 20 players in her career, it´ll be a tough outing for Mertens in this one. Maria Sakkari concludes this group, and the Greek player is an exceptional mover with a stinger for a forehand. Unluckily for the world no. 22 she´s only played one match since the US Open, being out with a pesky wrist injury. Those take time to recover from, and though she was recently in action in Moscow that won´t be enough to regain match sharpness. Mertens leads Sabalenka 2-1 in the H2H matchups, but in China the Belarussian is a different beast entirely. So much so, that the Chinese fans call her "the Daughter of China". Expect Sabalenka to make the semifinals.</p><p><b><i>Predicted semifinalist:</i> </b>[4]Aryna Sabalenka</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Q. You always have a good result in China. Three titles and one runner-up. Do you feel any special connection or bond with this country and the Chinese fans? They call you the Daughter of China.&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;ARYNA SABALENKA: Whoa.&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/WTAElitetrophy?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#WTAElitetrophy&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/dTQ4z4Fj2i\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/dTQ4z4Fj2i&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTA_insider/status/1186200931810988033?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;October 21, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><h2><b>The Verdict</b></h2><p>Looking at the group stages, the favourites should mostly have their way, except for the surprise I´m expecting in Group Camellia. This gives us Kiki Bertens, Karolina Muchova, Madison Keys and Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals. On their day, both of Keys and Sabalenka have the ceiling to play like the world no. 1, which Muchova and Bertens still lack. The Dutchwoman hasn´t impressed much down the stretch and I expect her to lose in the semifinals against either of these three players.<br /><br />As for the other three, the Daughter of China is truly a different animal in this country, and oftenmost plays her very best tennis. With 2 titles in China already to her name this year, Aryna Sabalenka is the woman to beat and priced at 6 she´s my first selection to win outright. Madison Keys on her day can be nearly as unstoppable however, and if catching fire she has every chance to hoist the trophy come Sunday. Priced 7.5, Keys is my second selection to win outright. Lastly, Karolina Muchova has the all-around game to cause any player problems, and her quick wit and problem solving ability makes up for the lack of devastating power. If either Sabalenka or Keys falters, look for the Czech to take advantage. Priced at 11, Muchova is my last selection to win outright.<br /><br />As per usual, there were so many things to go into, but too little time (and space). If you have any questions regarding my selections, or anything tennis related, feel free to hit me up on Twitter [@SnizeMaster]. Thank you for being with me this far, and until next time, zài jiàn!</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;The trophy 🏆&lt;br /&gt;Who will bring it home ? &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/WTAElitetrophy?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#WTAElitetrophy&lt;/a&gt;&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@WTA&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/1QXu81WgzT\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/1QXu81WgzT&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— WTA Elite Trophy (@WTAEliteTrophy) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/WTAEliteTrophy/status/1186259935899766784?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;October 21, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><p><b>Best bet: Aryna Sabalenka to win outright at 6 (5/1) with [<a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Well rated bookmaker">Bet365</a>] </b>0.5u<br /><b>Best bet: Madison Keys to win outright at 7.5 (13/2) with [<a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Well rated bookmaker">Bet365</a>] </b>0.5u<br /><b>Best bet: Karolina Muchova to win outright at 11 (10/1) with [<a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Well rated bookmaker">Bet365</a>] </b>0.25u</p><p><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=164&amp;a=f339dce1-88de-4994-ab6a-c24e019bdf3b&amp;f=3"><img alt src="https://cmscdn.staticcache.org/assets/image/0003/1348572/WHC_27064_Updated-In-Play-Tennis-Insurance_1280x480NEW.jpg" style="width:100%" /></a></p></div>
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