Tennis Betting Advice - January 2021

A safe pair of hands in Gippsland…

Saturday 30th January 2021

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Melbourne tournaments start tonight, 11.30pm…
  • WTA Gippsland Trophy…
  • One to Watch at 16/1…

The week before a Slam…

This week’s pre-Australian Open tournaments pose many interesting week-before-Grand-Slam questions.

With four events all being held at the Melbourne Park venue, it’s a much-needed chance for all the players to get some competitive time in on these courts, before the big one the week after.

With little to no tennis played recently, who will be sharp and up for it?

Who will be sluggish, after two weeks in hotel-based quarantine for most of their waking hours?

And the usual question mark in the week before a Grand Slam: will the top names really be going full-tilt, knowing any risk of injury or fatigue could scupper their chances at the imminent Major?

With so much to consider, there’s certainly a case for looking out for a few big-price outsiders to make a run at the ATP & WTA events in Melbourne over the next few days.

On the other hand, though, pretty much everyone is going to be in action in these warm-up tournaments – including the Top 10 players. Which in a ‘normal’ year, isn’t usually the case in the week directly before a Major.

I will be alerting you to any standout outsider odds that catch my eye with a credible case to be backed, tomorrow and on Monday – if the situation suits.

A safe pair of hands in Gippsland…

For today, with two women’s events starting from 11.30pm tonight (Saturday), UK time. I’ve got one selection. And that’s a player I consider a relatively safe pair of hands in these circumstances…

Elise Mertens is a very solid and consistent Top 20 player. The Belgian has been as high as No.12. Her biggest trophy win in Singles came at the WTA ‘Premier’ event in Doha in February 2019. She was a 33/1 shot that week, beating the favourite Simona Halep in the final.

Mertens' best Grand Slam performance also came early in the calendar, with a big semi-final run here in Melbourne, at the Australian Open 2018.

The 25-year-old has yet to better that Doha title. Or reach another Slam semi final. Back-to-back runs to the quarters at the other hard-court Major though, the US Open, show Mertens is a more than worthy competitor. If lacking the cutting edge to really make the big leap into the bigtime (although there’s still plenty of time to change that).

In an event like this week’s Gippsland Trophy (this is an WTA 500-grade event, which has replaced the old ‘Premier’ branding), Mertens represents a strong contender in my eyes…

Especially as she is placed in a promising-looking 3rd quarter of the draw. With players such as Elina Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko, and Caroline Garcia all filed under hard to trust and unreliable, in my opinion.

Granted, Garcia has a 3-0 head-to-head record v Mertens. The Frenchwoman could have legs as a 40/1 outsider here, although she hasn’t been seen on tour since the French Open last autumn.

The way this Gippsland draw is weighted, Mertens is seeded and has a 1st round Bye. She can’t meet top seed and 9/2 (5.5) tournament favourite Naomi Osaka until the semi final stage.

Mertens ended the scrappy 2020 season with two good showings on indoor hard courts. With a quarter final at WTA Ostrava, followed by a run to the final and runner-up finish at WTA Linz.

Elise also has some potentially significant start-of-season credentials. She has a decent record as a fast starter in recent years:

  • Started 2020 with two quarter finals, then reached 4th round at Australian Open
  • Won Doha in Feb 2019, and also reached QF at Sydney in the January
  • Won WTA Hobart in Jan 2018, before going on to make SF at the Australian Open
  • Also won Hobart in Jan 2017

Odds of 16/1 and 12/1 Each Way make Mertens my first selection Down Under this week.

Ones to Watch:

WTA Gippsland Trophy, Melbourne

Outright Winner – Each Way

  • Elise Mertens is 16/1 with Bet365, 12/1 Skybet, Ladbrokes, Coral

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

Play starts from 11.30pm. Bookies will take down the Outright Winner market overnight while matches are taking place.

I’ll be back on Sunday with more.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch