There's a jam-packed women's singles schedule on day one of the US Open, with the top half of the draw taking to the courts. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, assesses the value...
"In fact, Rybarikova is running at just 93.1% combined hold/break percentage on hard court during this time period, with Wang’s data much better."
Halep with tough task on opening day
Day one at the US Open sees plenty of action for bettors to get their teeth into, with 32 ladies singles matches taking place in addition to the same number of matches in the men's tournament.
With the top half of the draw playing on the opening day, this means that both the tournament favourites, Simona Halep and Serena Williams, get their campaigns underway. Halep could have got a much easier opening tie than Kaia Kanepi, with the Estonian, Kanepi, having posted decent data from a fairly limited schedule. Halep is [1.14] to make round two, and in truth, I make this a little short - it wouldn't surprise me at all if Halep struggled here against a very competent opponent.
Serena still with much to prove on return
As for Serena, she is [1.19] to progress past Magda Linette, who is another who has demonstrated competency on hard court, running at around 100% combined hold/break percentage. In truth, I feel Williams is priced on reputation a little here - her return numbers this season are highly unimpressive.
Despite winning 10 of her 13 matches in the last three months, Williams has broken opponents just 29.2% of the time, and in fact, has won a fewer return points percentage than Linette. Of course, Williams has been magnificent on serve, but it makes me wonder whether there might be a handicap opportunity to oppose the former world number one today.
The Exchange handicap market is still forming, but a price in excess of [1.95] on Linette with a 5.5 game head start might be a viable proposition.
Venus friendless in the market against Kuznetsova
Williams' older sister, Venus is also in action, in an all-veteran clash with Svetlana Kuznetsova. Venus is a narrow [2.14] underdog to progress, and looks a touch of value after a weekend drift. Having said this, both players haven't shown their best this year, and it's quite a tough match to call.
Fitness concerns make today's card incredibly tricky
Moving through the card, there's so many injury doubts to contend with for the players that my model liked. Both Dalila Jakupovic and Petra Martic were injured last time out, which makes favouring them against Jill Teichmann and Lucie Safarova, respectively, quite difficult, while the same goes for Kateryna Bondarenko against Vera Lapko.
How much these retirements were with this tournament in mind is debatable, but they're still obviously a red flag - in fact I can't remember a Slam with quite so many fitness issues surrounding WTA players.
Wang capable of overturning odds against Rybarikova
One match-up where players do look fairly clear of injury, however, is Magdalena Rybarikova against Qiang Wang, and the market is finding it tough to split the duo. Wang is available at [2.16], and I make this some value. She performed well against a weak field last month in Nanchang, winning the tournament, and her hard court data in the last year or so is much more impressive than her rival today.
In fact, Rybarikova is running at just 93.1% combined hold/break percentage on hard court during this time period, with Wang's data much better. The Slovakian is seeded here, but her ranking is always propped up from her grass performances, and she generally performs best in quick conditions.
She's unlikely to find these quick conditions today, with the courts in New York looking pretty medium-paced based on historical data, so taking Wang as our recommendation today looks well-founded.
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