Tennis Betting Advice - November 2021

WTA Finals – Iga to please at 7/1…

Wednesday 10th November 2021

As promised, I’m back with part two of today’s coverage. After looking at a 2/1 match opportunity in Linz this morning, it’s now time to get behind a 7/1 tournament selection in Mexico…

WTA Finals 2021 – Guadalajara, Mexico

The season-end women’s finals see the top eight eligible players from the 2021 WTA rankings race compete for this prestigious gong.

I’m on record as saying I don’t particularly like this tournament format. As with the men’s ATP Finals – where we’ve had some success with our Ones to Watch picks in the past – the eight players are split into two groups of four. The top two from each group then go through to the semi finals.

For me, tennis is a knockout sport, pure and simple. Since it was introduced, the group stage, round robin format has always felt a bit forced, a bit clunky. You can lose a match, and still end up lifting the trophy. That doesn’t happen at Wimbledon. Or any other event on the ATP & WTA Tours, for that matter.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the action in Mexico this week. The bookies can’t split the eight women all that much, and that gives the Outright Winner list a real pick ’em feel to it:

WTA Finals 2021 – best odds (decimal odds in brackets)

Anett Kontaveit 9/2 (5.5)

Aryna Sabalenka 5/1 (6.0)

Paula Badosa 6/1 (7.0)

Barbora Krejcikova 7/1 (8.0)

Iga Swiatek 7/1 (8.0)

Maria Sakkari 8/1 (9.0)

Karolina Pliskova 8/1 (9.0)

Garbine Muguruza 9/1 (10.0)

The players are divided into these two groups:

Group Chichen Itza

Group Teotihuacan

Who can pass the altitude test?

A big talking point for this event is the altitude. With the tournament moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, from its usual home in Shenzhen, China, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This venue is some 1,400 metres above sea level, which is around 5,000 feet. That level of elevation can affect anyone. And when you’re a top-level sportsperson, altitude can make a real impact on your game. As noted by women’s legend, Chris Evert, speaking to the official WTA website ahead of this week’s event:

“With the altitude, I could not keep a ball in the court. I lost to my sister Claire, 13 years younger, in doubles. Completely humiliated. Five thousand feet is a big deal. You need to make some adjustments.”

And another now-retired star of the sport, Martina Navratilova, is also well aware of the role the conditions can play here:

“The altitude, for sure, that’s going to speed up things … I know this because I lived in Aspen [Colorado] for 20 years. I know a little bit about playing at altitude – that’s 8,000 feet, right there. Guadalajara is closer to 5,000 feet. So that will definitely play a role, and if the women are not used to it, they’re going to be in for a rude awakening.”

In the notebook…

Garbine Muguruza may have her followers here. The Spaniard has won in Mexico before, a two-time champion at WTA Monterrey, in 2018 & 2019. That outdoor hard-court complex is some 1,000 metres lower than the courts at Guadalajara, though.

Barbora Krejcikova is a skilful player with the technical abilities to adapt to her surroundings. The Czech has played a lot of tennis this year though, and is also in action in the Doubles event here at the WTA Finals – where she’s the tournament favourite alongside her playing partner, Katerina Siniakova.

It feels odd to see Anett Kontaveit as the favourite in a field of this calibre, but on recent hard-court form, you can’t take anything away from the Estonian. This has proved to be a career-best year to date, with the 25-year-old propelling herself up to no.8 in the world, and a debut place in the WTA Finals. Thanks to a sensational run of form in the second half of the season. Winning four of the last seven tournaments that she’s taken part in, amassing a remarkable 26-2 win-loss record in that time.

I’ve backed Kontaveit at big prices in the past, and always been rooting for her to do well and fulfil her potential. I’m not backing her as the favourite here, though. Only two women have beaten Anett in that 28-match splurge of form. One of them was Ons Jabeur, who hasn’t qualified this week. The other was Iga Swiatek…

Big-time credentials…

Muguruza and Krejcikova have both won the French Open. The only other Grand Slam champion in this eight-woman field is our 100/1 French Open friend from last year, Iga Swiatek. The Polish youngster – still just 20 years of age – has posted a strong follow-up season after her breakout 2020 campaign. Iga is now established in the world’s top 10, and has reached the 4th round or better at all four Grand Slams in 2021 – a feat of consistency that’s very hard to find in the women’s game these days.

Swiatek likes the box-office occasion. She has the head for the big matches. In the run-up to this tournament, Iga has talked about how she loves playing in front of a crowd. She has the mentality to rise to the occasion. Not to mention the power to hit through any opponent. And the on-board computer to figure out tricky situations on court as they present themselves.

At 7/1, Swiatek is my pick for the WTA Finals this week.

Ones to Watch

WTA Finals – Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara

Outright Winner – Each Way:

Each Way terms: 1/3 odds 1-2 places.

Play starts from 8pm UK time. Swiatek plays her first group match on Thursday.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch