It’s often a very tricky week of tennis betting ahead of a Grand Slam and if Monday’s start is anything to go by it could be again in week 21 of the WTA Tour.
I didn’t get much right yesterday on what was a very tough card and Tuesday’s 14 first and second round matches in Strasbourg and Nurnberg will take some sorting out as well.
We might get some help from last year’s stats at these two International level events in terms of winners to underdogs ratio and length of matches, so I’ve taken a look at those.
In Nurnberg in 2013 – the only previous year the tournament has been staged – we had just two underdog winners from the 16 first round matches and just one from the eight second round matches, so 21 favourites won in 24 matches.
Meanwhile, in Strasbourg, the 2013 tournament provided a much higher ratio of underdog winners, with 10 of 16 outsiders winning in round one and three of eight in round two, making just 11 winning favourites from 24 matches.
And in rounds one and two in Nurnberg in 2013 there were 17 straight sets winners from 24 matches and in Strasbourg the figure was 15 from 24 matches.
Therefore, based on last year’s results by far the more likely venue for upsets is Strasbourg, where there are nine matches in play on Tuesday and one potentially shaky favourite is our number one seed.
Sloane Stephens vs Julia Goerges
The German declined the offer of a wild card into Nurnberg this week in favour of playing here in Strasbourg and it may have backfired, as she’s been drawn against the number one seed, Stephens in the opening round.
That said, Sloane is not exactly showing the kind of form on clay that you would expect from a top seed having been bamboozled by Varvara Lepchenko last week in Rome and prior to that been beaten in her first match in Charleston and Bogota in faster clay conditions.
The American did OK on clay at altitude in Madrid before running into Na Li but generally her efforts on clay haven’t been great and the big-hitting Goerges could well cause her major problems today if she’s on a good day.
This might well be one of the few matches that go past the overs mark today and I can see a three setter here, with Goerges being very hit and miss and Stephens very up and down in her level.
Paul Annacone is travelling with Sloane this week, so his words of wisdom might give her the edge and the 2-1 to the American looks decent here at 4.10.
Goerges hasn’t won more than two straight matches on clay since Madrid back in 2011 and I actually think she’s a little short today at 2.23.
Julia has a 1-13 record against top-20 players dating back to October 2012 and the one she beat was my favourite punchless Italian Sara Errani, so I would like a bigger price before investing in Goerges today.
Elsewhere, Alizé Cornet begins the defence of her title against the attacking Italian Camila Giorgi, who has no sort of record on clay due to her all out offence style.
Cornet should win this one and the 2-0 looks likely there at around 2.0, with Alizé having won their previous two meetings on hard courts this season in three sets and a more comfortable success possible on clay.
The only two outsiders I considered today are Mirjana Lucic-Baroni against Bojana Jovanovski and Johanna Larsson over Monica Puig, but I’m not overly keen on either.
Best Bet: Back Stephens to beat Goerges 2-1 at 4.10