TENNIS

Pliskova expected to dominate underdog Andreescu (June 15)

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The WTA Berlin tournament is off to an incredible start and the order of play for Wednesday’s slate is filled with fascinating matchups.

That said, I found value on two games that we can exploit.

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Let’s take a look below to see where I landed for my top bets and top betting picks.

Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

Karolina Pliskova (-122) against Bianca Andreescu (+100)

5 a.m. ET

Pliskova played excellent last two sets in the Berlin opening round, beating Kaia Kanepi 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-0. Pliskova has been incredibly efficient on serve, holding in her 12 games. The Czech won 70% of her first serves and had 17 aces. On the return, Pliskova won 46% of her return points and broke Kanepi’s big serve six times.

Pliskova was one set away from the Wimbledon title last season and has an impressive professional record of 62-28 on grass. The faster surface gives an extra boost to Pliskova’s already huge serve. Additionally, his flat groundstrokes traveled across the court, out of opponents’ strike zones. And Pliskova understands the right time to come to the net.

Andreescu won her second match on grass since 2018 in the first round in Berlin, beating Katerina Siniakova in a three-set thriller 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Andreescu was excellent on the return, winning 48% of her first-serve return points and breaking Siniakova’s serve seven times. However, the Canadian will have to be better on her own serve as Andreescu has been broken six times.

Andreescu is 14-8 on grass in his career, but has only played five games on the surface since 2018. Andreescu’s game should theoretically work quite well on the surface, as his variety can take the opponent well out of his comfort zone. However, in none of Andreescu’s matches on grass since 2018 has she won more than 60% of her service points.

Pliskova is a very strong grass player and served incredibly well against Kanepi. Pliskova can also hit powerful, seemingly low-margin groundstrokes behind her serve that stay low and will make Andreescu uncomfortable.

Andreescu will sometimes drag Pliskova onto the court, but I think Pliskova will be aggressive, punish Andreescu’s second serve and make her play more defense than she wants.

It is also important to note that if Pliskova’s Elo rating on grass is 202.8 points higher than Andreescu’s.

Take: Pliskova ML (-122)

Maria Sakkari (-440) against Daria Saville (+320)

10:30 a.m. ET

Sakkari got off to a successful start in Berlin, beating Leolia Jeanjean in a 6-3, 6-2 victory. Sakkari won 92% of his first serves and didn’t face a break point the entire game. The Greek also won 51% of her return points and generated 13 break points.

Sakkari is 19-13 pro on grass, going 3-1 in 2022, but don’t let those records fool you. She always seemed uncomfortable on the surface lately. Sakkari doesn’t move as well on the grass and tries to play his clay court game less effectively. And while that might be effective against an overwhelmed Jeanjean, it won’t work against higher level opposition.

Saville qualified for Berlin and came back from a set down to defeat Jil Teichmann in the first round. Saville came back well against Teichmann, winning 48% of his comeback points. It allowed Saville to generate 18 break points and break serve eight times. However, on his own serve, Saville hit 11 double faults, which won’t be acceptable against Sakkari.

This year, Saville has held every opponent in Berlin so far to less than 50% of their second serves won and broken 19 times across the three matches. So while the Aussie is just 19-21 on grass in her career, she feels comfortable on the surface this week. Saville moves well, showing great rally tolerance and using all the terrain with his variety.

Sakkari has the biggest asset in her forehand, but she’s much less consistent on the grass and doesn’t seem comfortable moving around on the surface or attacking the net. It’s hard to trust Sakkari to blast an opponent on grass, especially a player like Saville who will make Sakkari work on every point.

Saville is certainly not a traditional grass-court player, but he is playing well in Berlin and has adapted well to the surface. While Berlin’s combined 26 double faults so far are disturbing, Saville plays well behind her serve when she puts it on the line and should keep this game close.

Take: Total over 20.5 games (-110)

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