Tennis Betting Advice - April 2021

Ones to Watch in Madrid - at 40/1 and 200/1...

Wednesday 28th April 2021

In Ones to Watch today:

  • WTA Madrid…
  • Spanish outsider at 200/1…
  • Sakkari hungry for success at 40/1…

We can count ourselves a bit unfortunate with this week’s 33/1 pick Guido Pella. The Argentinean got through the 1st round at ATP Munich, then took a one-set lead in this morning’s 2nd round match against John Millman. However, injury issues then stopped Pella in his tracks, and he had to retire, despite being up on the scoreboard.

Our other 33/1 outsider this week, Corentin Moutet at ATP Estoril, is through to the 2nd round. He’ll go into tomorrow’s match against Denis Shapovalov as a lively underdog.

We shift our attention to Madrid now, with not one but two ‘Masters’ 1000-level events coming up over the next 10 days or so. The women’s tournament gets underway on Thursday morning, followed by the men at the weekend.

WTA Madrid – Ones to Watch…

This is a big tournament with an intriguing field. There’s no Serena Williams, but apart from that, all the current big names are here, along with a stack of rising stars.

The top quarter of the WTA Madrid draw includes world no.1 Ashleigh Barty, and teenage French Open winner Iga Swiatek. Former Madrid champions Petra Kvitova and the returning-from-injury Kiki Bertens are also in this section. No wonder then that Bet365’s Winning Quarter market lists the 1st Quarter as the 13/8 (2.63) favourite to produce the tournament winner.

Those big names come with the usual unattractive price tags. Barty is 8/1 (9.0) at best and 13/2 (7.5) in general. Swiatek is 6/1, Kvitova 12/1 in general – with Bertens a 33/1 outsider, on account of her recent lack of form & fitness.

The bottom half of the drawsheet has four-time Madrid finalist and two-time winner Simona Halep, along with the biggest star in women’s tennis right now – Naomi Osaka. Those two are in opposite quarters (3rd & 4th), so could meet in the semi finals. Although I wouldn’t be confident of that…

Osaka has never won a clay-court title. That’s something she’s been speaking about recently. And in the past, when Naomi says something is on her mind (such as the world no.1 ranking, to give a recent example) – that tends to not bode well for her chances. Here's a snippet from Osaka’s press conference:

“After Miami I took, like, a bit of a break because I felt like I needed to slow my mind down a little bit. But, yeah, I feel for me it's exciting to go into the clay court swing because I haven't won a tournament on clay yet. Even though that does make me a bit excited, it also gives me a bit of stress because I really want to do well here.”

That word ‘stress’ needs to be circled in red, if you ask me. That’s not to say Naomi can’t blast through the field here. She’s good enough to do that at any tournament. But I won’t be backing her to claim a first clay title in this one.

In the Outright Winner betting, Halep is the 11/2 (6.5) tournament favourite, with Osaka 10/1 at best and 9/1 in general.

Outsider chances at 200/1…

So how about the chances for an underdog to put a big run together here? Well, it’s a 64-player women’s field, with no 1st round Byes, and there’s certainly a case for an upset or two along the way…

Studying the draw, names in my notes include recent 66/1 Charleston champion Veronika Kudermetova at 40/1 – although she’s in the ‘quarter of death’ with Barty, Swiatek, and Kvitova.

Jil Belen Teichmann has been a 100/1+ pick of mine on a couple of occasions. But coming back from injury here, and with Elina Svitolina in the 1st round, there might be better opportunities to back Teichmann in the weeks and months ahead. Then again, she is 200/1.

The Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo is having a career-best season, and will no doubt be eager to impress on home territory. She’s also 200/1 – and 250/1 with William Hill. Whether or not Sorribes Tormo can put a run together here depends greatly on if she can take out Halep in the 1st round. It’s a tough draw.

For another ‘home’ player at a massive price, my underdog antenna is twitching a bit for Paula Badosa, who also tops out at 200/1 in the betting. The 23-year-old Spaniard reached the semi finals on the green clay at Charleston last time out. That run included a career-best victory, taking out an admittedly tired world no.1, Ash Barty. Badosa also beat Belinda Bencic that week, and they could meet again in Madrid.

Paula is up to a new best ranking of no.62, and she’s one to watch on the clay this season – and beyond. A 50-50 opening-round match against Barbora Krejcikova is potentially tricky, but I fancy the Spanish player to navigate her way through that test. From then on, 200/1 would be great to have on-side.

Hungry for titles at 40/1…

In the opposite side of the Madrid draw, one I like at a nice price is Ones to Watch regular, Maria Sakkari, at 40/1. I’m pretty sure I’ve said before that she’s knocking on the door for a big title. Sakkari was a 50/1 pick for me at the Australian Open, but crashed and burned in a 1st -round shocker. I’m willing to put that down to circumstance, having just come out of hotel quarantine Down Under.

This fitness fanatic has the power and shots to trouble the best – as multiple Grand Slam winner Osaka found out in Miami last month, blasted off the court 6-0, 6-4. Sakkari has also beaten the likes of Garbine Muguruza, Sofia Kenin, and Madison Keys this season – all of them Grand Slam finalists or champions.

The Greek’s only WTA Tour title to date came on clay, at Rabat in Morocco in 2019. She beat the likes of Elise Mertens and Jo Konta that week. Four of Sakkari’s seven lower-tier ITF trophies also came on the red dirt. Age 25, Maria looks hungry to add more WTA silverware to her name – and to aim for the biggest prizes, too.

Again, we have a tough 1st-round draw, with former Ones to Watch teenager Amanda Anisimova the opponent. Sakkari won their only previous meeting, though (hard courts, 2020), in straight sets. And in terms of reliability over the course of any given three-set match right now, I’d give the Greek player the edge plenty more times than not.

Sitting at a new career high of no.19 in the world, Sakkari will be aiming to go higher – that’s for sure. That mental drive and determination, along with a slightly bigger price this week, leads me to take her over potential early-rounds opponent Anett Kontaveit (33/1), who we backed last time out on clay in Stuttgart (quarter final). The head-to-head there is 4-4 at all levels, and 1-1 at WTA clay-court events.

200/1 Badosa and 40/1 Sakkari are going in the book as my WTA Madrid picks today. With qualification spots still to be filled, we may well add another big price or two as the tournament takes shape.

Ones to Watch

Outright Winner – Each Way

WTA Madrid – Mutua Madrid Open

  • Paula Badosa is 200/1 with Bet365, William Hill, BetVictor, 150/1 Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, Betfred, Betway
  • Maria Sakkari is 40/1 with Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred, 35/1 BetVictor, 33/1 Bet365, William Hill, Betway

Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places.

Play starts 9am+ Thursday. Bookies take down their Outright Winner markets during the day’s matches.

I’ll be back soon with more from this week’s tournaments, and with the men’s Madrid event coming up at the weekend.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch