Thursday's WTA matches at the US Open focus on the continuation of round two, and after a day three winner, Dan Weston returns to give his thoughts on the potential day four value...
"Raducanu hasn’t dropped a set here through qualifying or her win over Stefanie Voegele in round one, and I’m of the mindset that she represents nice value to progress to round three today."
Masarova gives us a winner as big names dominate
A strong second-set performance from Rebeka Masarova got the game handicap covered against Elina Svitolina, and it will be fascinating to see how the young Swiss player fares in some of the lower level tournaments on the main tour as her ranking gets high enough for direct entry. She could well cause a surprise or two over the next few months.
The likes of Victoria Azarenka, Aryna Sabalenka and Barbora Krejcikova all got the job done in straight sets yesterday to move to round three, as the WTA event still continues to have a rather two-set dynamic in the tournament so far. Naomi Osaka didn't even need to step onto court for her match with Olga Danilovic, with the Serb handing the world number three a walkover in advance.
Moving on to today, there's plenty to discuss, and we'll start with some of the higher profile matches.
Ashleigh Barty 1.111/9 vs Clara Tauson 9.208/1: This has the makings of a fantastic second round match, with the world number one and tournament favourite facing arguably the highest potential young player in the entire draw.
Barty's price looks a few ticks short, based on my model, but nothing worth acting on, and I can't wait to see how Tauson matches up against such a high quality opponent. The 18-year-old has already got a very nicely positive record on the main tour, with strong underlying data, and also comes into the tournament on a six-match unbeaten run having taken the title in the Chicago 125 level event recently, beating fellow young prospect Emma Raducanu in the final - more on her later on in this preview.
Pliskova vulnerable against Anisimova
Karolina Pliskova 1.434/9 vs Amanda Anisimova 3.259/4: Again, we have a dynamic of an established top ten player against a young player with huge upside, and there looks to be less of a current ability differential between the duo here compared to Barty versus Tauson as well.
A shock could be on the cards here - I make Pliskova favourite, but not remotely close to the market pricing, and assuming Anisimova is fully fit here - she retired in Chicago several weeks ago - a competitive match should be in prospect. It's also worth noting that the two players met in Montreal a month ago and Pliskova was priced at around 1.654/6 that day - much more in line with my model.
Shelby Rogers 1.9310/11 vs Sorana Cirstea 2.021/1: There's not a huge amount of value here in my view, but Rogers does look like she should be favourite in a match which the market is finding it difficult to split the two players.
Quite simply, the American has been better on hard court than Cirstea this year (around a 3% difference in combined serve/return points won percentage), and eased into round two with a second-set bagel of countrywoman Madison Brengle in round one. I'm surprised by the market line here.
Raducanu can get revenge over Zhang
Shuai Zhang 2.3411/8 vs Emma Raducanu 1.738/11: However, if I'm surprised by the market line in Rogers v Cirstea, I'm even more so by Raducanu only being a slight favourite over Zhang, and I think the market is underestimating the young Brit.
The veteran, Zhang, has really struggled over the last 12 months, and turning 33 in January, it's reasonable to wonder whether this decline will continue. The two players did meet in San Jose a month ago and Zhang won, and I wonder whether that's influencing the market as well to some extent here. However, since then, Zhang picked up a leg injury and Raducanu reached the final of the Chicago 125 event, losing to fellow high potential young player, Tauson, as mentioned previously, but beating solid opposition to reach that stage.
Raducanu hasn't dropped a set here through qualifying or her win over Stefanie Voegele in round one, and I'm of the mindset that she represents nice value to progress to round three today.
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