Sunday's WTA focus is on the two finals in Prague and Lexington, and our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, previews the matches...
"The market line of 1.422/5 about Halep looks about right to me, and she looks accurately priced as a strong favourite to win yet another WTA title on her preferred clay."
Teichmann again outperforms expectations
The second week of WTA action following the resumption of the tour is drawing to a conclusion, and it's been a tough week with Jill Teichmann again making a mockery of her previous hard court record with yet another win. I can't remember many players reaching a final with such low pre-tournament expectations from a statistical basis - Roy Smith's Challenger final at Houston in November 2018 springs to mind as one possible example - but here we are, and she has the opportunity to win her third WTA title.
Unsurprisingly, all of Teichmann's professional titles have been on clay courts (two on the WTA Tour and four in ITF level events), while today's opponent Jennifer Brady is still awaiting her first WTA success.
Brady a heavy favourite for first WTA title
In truth, she Brady unlikely to get many better opportunities, with the American a justified 1.422/5 favourite to lift the trophy. My model made this almost spot-on, pricing her up at 1.444/9, and even with her performance levels this week, Teichmann has quite a deficit on 12 month hard court numbers. In addition, Brady has better service/return points won numbers this week in Lexington and it would be a surprise if she didn't get that first WTA title. It's also worth noting that Teichmann is running at around 12% greater than expectation on break points (based on her service/return points won this week), while Brady is actually below expectation.
Halep reaches final despite early difficulties
Prior to this though, scheduled at 1230 UK time is the Prague final between Simona Halep and Elise Mertens. Halep was the overwhelming tournament favourite, trading at not much over even money in advance of the event, but my perception was that she may have had some difficulty, given that the quicker conditions may not have been to her liking. That's kind of been the case - she was pushed by both Polona Hercog and Barbora Krejcikova in the opening two rounds - but she has made the final and has the opportunity to win her 21st main tour title.
Mertens outclassed in previous meetings with Halep
Opponent Mertens looked out of touch last week in Palermo against Aliaksandra Sasnovich but she's been better this week, although against no player ranked inside the top 50. Halep will be a considerable jump in quality to those who Mertens has faced to get to this stage, and she's outclassed Mertens in their two clay court meetings previously, winning four sets for the loss of just six games.
The market line of 1.422/5 about Halep looks about right to me, and she looks accurately priced as a strong favourite to win yet another WTA title on her preferred clay.
So, Brady and Halep are the strong favourites today and are, in my opinion, correctly priced by the market. Following these two finals, there's a few days break on tour before the start of the Western and Southern Open begins in New York - the final warm-up event before the US Open, which begins on the 31st August.
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