US Open Women's Singles Day Three Tips: Kostyuk value over Sevastova

German Tennis Player Angelique Kerber
Angelique Kerber could be pushed by Anna-Lena Friedsam tonight...

Wednesday's action at the US Open sees the second round get underway, and returning to preview the women's singles schedule is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...

"It is evident that Kostyuk is on a steep upward ability curve, and it's difficult to make the same assertion for Sevastova, who has really struggled in the last 12-18 months, barely winning 25% of her main tour hard court matches."

McNally gets us a Tuesday winner

We managed to pick up a decent winner yesterday in what was a horrible card to have to try and navigate, with Caty McNally getting past Viktoria Kuzmova in straight sets in a dominant display, winning 61% of points in the match. As suspected, a downgrade in opposition did the trick in getting McNally back to winning ways.

In other matches, we saw the exit of Venus Williams - who was a pre-match underdog anyway to Karolina Muchova - although sister Serena got her first straight-set victory post-lockdown with a far from comprehensive win over Kristie Ahn. After being priced at the same before the tournament, the outright market is now making Naomi Osaka a slight favourite over Serena, at a current 6/17.0.

I'm very pleased to have got round one out of the way, with all players featuring in round two obviously having a win under their belt enabling us to have a look at some data from all of those matches, plus any since the tour resumed. The markets for Wednesday's matches seem fairly accurate, although there are one of two spots worth discussing.

Kostyuk on a steep upward ability curve

First up, I think Marta Kostyuk is some reasonable value for her clash with Anastasija Sevastova. I'm surprised to see the 18-year-old Ukranian as the underdog at around 2.25 for this, with her numbers at a lower level extremely impressive. She won a hard court ITF event in Cairo in February, and several players who she beat en route to that title are also present in New York this week. It is evident that Kostyuk is on a steep upward ability curve, and it's difficult to make the same assertion for Sevastova, who has really struggled in the last 12-18 months, barely winning 25% of her main tour hard court matches.

In addition, the nature of their first-round wins were rather different. Kostyuk breezed past Daria Kasatkina for the loss of just three games, winning 65% of points in the match, while Sevastova scrapped to a three-set victory over Cori Gauff. Opposition quality was slightly higher for Sevastova, but it's still difficult to ignore Kostyuk's excellent win here. She's today's recommendation.

Bellis capable of upsetting Brady

Another underdog who I think has a solid chance of progression is CiCi Bellis at 7/42.70 over Jennifer Brady in an all-American clash. My model made this quite a bit closer to even money, with both players showing decent results following the resumption of the tour. Without injuries, my view is it would be extremely likely that Bellis would have been ranked above Brady at this stage of her career, and I'm getting the feeling that there's quite a lot of market support for Brady on a general basis - I certainly haven't found her to be any value of late.

Kerber could be vulnerable against Friedsam

There are also a number of strong favourites today. Both Karolina Pliskova and Naomi Osaka look a little value even at short prices for their matches against Caroline Garcia and Camila Giorgi, while Angelique Kerber looks one of the most vulnerable, against countrywoman Anna-Lena Friedsam.

Kerber's win over Ajla Tomljanovic in round one was her first match since January, and she actually conceded more break chances to Tomljanovic than she had herself - hardly an encouraging sign for her progression here. Against a competent opponent in Friedsam, it will be very interesting to see how Kerber performs.

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