WTA French Open Day 11: Svitolina unlikely to be outclassed against Halep

Simona Halep is a short price to beat Elina Svitolina today...
Simona Halep is a short price to beat Elina Svitolina today...
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Day 11 of the French Open sees two further WTA quarter-finals, and both matches are available on Betfair Live Video. After netting an incredible 10th WTA winner in a row, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to preview the matches...

"In the last 12 months, when priced between 2.50 and 4.00, Svitolina has covered the +4.5 game handicap line six out of ten times, and has done so in her last four matches in this price range."

Perfect 10 in the WTA as Bacsinszky beats Mladenovic

It was the perfect ten for followers yesterday with the slight underdog Timea Bacsinszky ousting Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets, and the ability that the Swiss player has on return - highlighted in yesterday's preview - saw her break the Frenchwoman on five occasions in ten return games.

Bacsinszky's reward is a semi-final clash against Jelena Ostapenko, and with both players yet to make a Grand Slam final in their careers, Bacsinszky is currently a [1.69] favourite to get past the Latvian and make it to that stage. Readers will have to check out tomorrow's preview to see whether I make this price value.

Today's WTA action takes place not before 1pm UK time, and there are two rather different clashes on the schedule.

Market over-reaction towards Halep after fourth round matches

The [2.40] tournament favourite, Simona Halep, is yet to drop a set in the event, and she takes on Elina Svitolina, who was virtually neck and neck with the Romanian in the outright betting until the previous round, where Halep easily disposed of Carla Suarez Navarro, while Svitolina came back from almost certain elimination against Petra Martic.

The market has seen fit to completely over-react against Svitolina, with the Ukrainian player now eased to [7.80] fourth favourite in the outright market, and as I've mentioned a number of times in the past, my approach does not advocate this reaction.

I'd much rather look at longer term data - particularly in the WTA, over/under performance on a given day is commonplace - and 12 month clay data shows that there really isn't much between the two players.

Clay data shows both players are elite level

In the last 12 months on the surface, Svitolina has held serve 72.7% of the time, breaking opponents 47.2% (combined 119.9%) with Halep doing so 72.8% and 55.3% respectively (128.3%). With elite level coming into play at around the 120% mark, both players have been at a very high level indeed in this time period.

This advantage for Halep priced her at [1.57] to take the match, according to my model, but the Exchange currently has her at [1.42], indicating value on Svitolina to cause an upset, as she did in the final of Rome several weeks ago, where she beat Halep in three sets.

For that match, Svitolina was priced slightly shorter, at around [3.00] compared to today's [3.30], further illustrating the over-reaction from Monday's fourth round matches.

Game handicap a solid option for backing Svitolina

Therefore, our options are either to back Svitolina to win at [3.25], or +4.5 games on the game handicap at [1.78]. In the last 12 months, when priced between [2.50] and [4.00], Svitolina has covered this line six out of ten times, and has done so in her last four matches in this price range.

No doubt, there is more upside in Svitolina than Halep both with the prices and from an age curve perspective, and if this match gets to a dramatic stage, such as 5-5 in the final set, I know I'd much prefer the mental strength of Svitolina, but I'll take the safer option of backing her with the 4.5 game head start today.

Serve likely to dominate Garcia and Pliskova match

Today's other match is much more likely to be serve orientated, with Karolina Pliskova a [1.62] favourite to get past the final French player in either singles draw, Caroline Garcia.

My model was virtually identical to this price, at [1.64], and with both players having projected hold percentages in the mid-high 70s% region, I'm not expecting a ton of breaks or in-set swings, and with both matches traditionally - and inexplicably - scheduled at the same time, this clash will probably be of less interest to both bettors and the neutral.

Recommended Bets

Back Elina Svitolina +4.5 games at [1.78]


Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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