Wednesday's WTA action sees the start of round two in Palermo, and Dan West thinks Fiona Ferro is a good bet...
"After Ferro’s win over Nadia Podoroska yesterday, I actually thought we might be able to get the Frenchwoman as an underdog, or at worst, as a ‘pick-em’ - an even-money match. However, the market makes Ferro a slight favourite, which makes sense, and the [1.90] about her is just about bordering on small value."
Ferro slight value against Alexandrova
As has been the case throughout the week, proceedings get underway in Palermo at 1500 UK time, and the first match on court is Ekaterina Alexandrova against Fiona Ferro. I mentioned on Monday that Alexandrova's clay data over the last three years isn't great - below 100% combined service/return points won in main tour matches - but she has exhibited recent improvement on other surfaces. However, she appears much better suited to quicker conditions, which she is unlikely to get in Palermo - so far, from the first round, the Palermo service points won percentage is absurdly low, even for a clay court.
I also discussed avoiding opposing Alexandrova against a potential fitness doubt in Kristina Mladenovic in her opener and looking to take her on in round two instead, and that proved prudent following her three set victory in which Mladenovic served an incredible 20 double faults. It is anticipated that Ferro won't be as generous - she actually has a very low double fault per game figure.
However, I'm less enthused about Ferro's price than I thought I would be. After Ferro's win over Nadia Podoroska yesterday, I actually thought we might be able to get the Frenchwoman as an underdog, or at worst, as a 'pick-em' - an even-money match. However, the market makes Ferro a slight favourite, which makes sense, and the [1.90] about her is just about bordering on small value.
Given this, I'm far less bullish about opposing Alexandrova at these prices. Any backing of Ferro at the current market lines should be a very small stake only, and sadly, she looks the best spot on a day where the market has got things about right.
Pliskova should be too solid for Errani
Moving on, home player Jasmine Paolini meets Aliaksandra Sasnovich, with Sasnovich favoured by the market at a current [1.55]. This looks a little short to me - the return-orientated Paolini should enjoy these slow conditions in Italy - but not unduly so. If Paolini was around [3.00], then this might be closer to a play of some sort.
Sara Errani denied us on Monday against Sorana Cirstea, somehow winning when facing 21 break points during the match, but the Italian faces an altogether different challenge this afternoon as she faces big-server Krystina Pliskova in what is a rather large clash of contrasting styles. The extremely return-orientated Errani is likely to struggle against the powerful Pliskova, who surprised Maria Sakkari in her opening match, and the market agrees, pricing Pliskova at [1.45] at the time of writing. I'd be looking for a pre-match price greater than [1.50] about Pliskova for her to be some slight value here.
Vekic a step up for improving Cocciaretto
Finally, another Italian player, Elisabetta Cocciaretto faces Donna Vekic in the night match, with Vekic a strong market favourite at [1.30]. Vekic's stats on clay are pretty impressive - not far from 105% combined service/return points won across the last three years - and she should have too much for the improving Cocciaretto here. I mentioned earlier on this week that Cocciaretto should have quite a high ceiling on clay and she shocked Polona Hercog in the first round - however Vekic is a step up from Hercog and it would be a surprise if Cocciaretto progressed to the quarter-finals tonight.
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Back Fiona Ferro at [1.90] to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova