The tennis action continues in Stockholm and Guadalajara. The Stockholm event is near completion as the semi-finals are played today. The WTA finals are still in the early stages as the women begin their second matches against each other in the round-robin format. As the week continues the level of play continues to rise. Which player should we back to make the winning tennis picks?
Frances Tiafoe vs. Tommy Paul
Friday, November 12, 2021 – 12:00 PM EST at Center Court
Frances Tiafoe got the victory in the Stockholm Open quarterfinals in a three-set match over Dan Evans. Tiafoe started slowly, losing the first set 6-1. He then followed in dominating fashion, winning the next two sets 6-1. Tiafoe is in some of the best forms of his life and is playing a strong all-around game.
He has a serve strong enough to win a majority of the service games and he is consistent on both sides of the ball on his groundstrokes. His last improvement was point construction. Now that he is playing optimal strategy, the sky’s the limit for the talented young American.
Tiafoe is 41-26 on the year and an impressive 9-3 on indoor hard courts. With his current impressive level of play, Tiafoe is a major threat to win this tournament.
Fellow American Tommy Paul is also playing well. Paul managed a grueling three-set victory over the grinder Andy Murray. Paul defeated Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Paul only served at 51% on his first serves, but one an impressive 83% of those first service points. Paul took control in the third set where he won 100% of his first service points.
These two Americans in their top form will now face each other in the semifinals. Both are playing at their top-level of tennis, so this should be an entertaining match. I think Tiafoe has the better form here and will be able to get the victory. This is the best I have seen Tiafoe play. For my best bets, I like Tiafoe to win and cover the game spread of -2.
Karolina Pliskova vs. Anett Kontaveit
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 03:00 PM EST at Akron Tennis Stadium
Anett Kontaveit is on fire winning her last 11 matches and 20 of her last 21. Kontaveit’s most recent tournament was in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She overcame the hometown hero Simona Halep 6-2, 6-3 on her way to her fourth WTA title of the season. Kontaveit is an impressive 46-15 on the year.
She is 22-10 on the hard courts this season. Kontaveit’s improvement coincides with her teaming up with Coach Dmitry Tursunov. Under Tursunov’s tutelage, Kontaveit has gone from being a player with a ton of potential to a player who is showcasing her talent with her results.
Kontaveit opened the WTA finals with a victory over Barbara Krejcicova. Kontaveit defeated the reigning French Open Champion 6-3, 6-4. Kontaveit won in spite of having only 46% first-serve percentage. She won 85% of her first serves she placed in play and a remarkable 63% of second-serve points won.
She never faced a breakpoint during the course of the match. Kontaveit’s next challenge will be facing Karolina Pliskova, who looked brilliant in her tense and tight victory over Garbine Muguruza. Karolina Pliskova squeaked out the victory over Garbine Muguruza in a match that was ridiculously close. Pliskova won 110 total points compared to Garbine’s 101.
Pliskova emerged victorious after a third-set tiebreaker that she won 8-6. In the match, Pliskova saved 67% of her breakpoints (8/12). Pliskova needs to be careful to not give Kontaveit that many opportunities. Pliskova is 36-18 on the year with a record of 22-11 on hard courts. She has failed to win a tournament this year but made the finals in Rome, Wimbledon, and Montreal.
Pliskova’s big serve and powerful forehand were on display in the win over Muguruza and the quick courts played to her advantage. Her forehands blistered past Garbine, barely reaching her waist with such a low bounce. Pliskova’s flat powerful forehand should play well against Kontaveit’s more liberal use of topspin and the contrast should be beautiful to watch.
Pliskova has faced and defeated Kontaveit three times. Yet all three of those results were in 2018-2019, so they are not very predictive given Kontaveit’s huge leap in the level of play this season Kontaveit is the favorite. With a winning streak like the one she’s on, it is for good reason. However, here we will look to back the underdog once again and grab the value in the WTA odds.
It is so tough to back a player against Kontaveit’s current form, but Karolina Pliskova has the game to overcome Kontaveit’s brilliance. At this price, all the value is on Karolina Pliskova.
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