WTA Tokyo – Irina Falconi vs Saisai Zheng
With the next round of the Davis Cup starting on Friday, action on the ATP Tour is suspended for a week. Due to this, we move to the WTA Tour for previews this week and there are events on the very fast Indoor Carpet in Quebec City, and a rather slower outdoor hard court in Tokyo, as the Tennis calendar starts to move over to Asia for a number of weeks.
Matches in Tokyo start at around 3am UK time and it’s in the slightly more humanely timed last match on the card, at 7:30am, that we find some handicap betting value.
In this match, Irina Falconi and Saisai Zheng are battling for the last quarter-final berth, with the winner due to take on Christina McHale in that round. Falconi starts as an uneasy favourite at around the 1.70 mark, and my model also highlighted that unease, actually making Zheng the marginal favourite.
The Chinese player arrives in good form following a win in the Dalian Challenger last week and it may be due to her playing six matches in nine days that the market favours Falconi. However, looking at the stats, it’s difficult to make a case for Falconi even considering this.
On hard court in WTA main draw matches in the last 12 months, Zheng’s record is more impressive. She’s won 17/31 matches (55%) to Falconi’s 6/12 (50%), and in this sample she has held serve 2.4% more (60.9% to 58.5%) and broken opponents 3.6% more (38.1% to 34.5%). Statistically, there is very little evidence to suggest that the limited Falconi deserves favourtism in this match.
Zheng also has a stellar record as a slight underdog, actually winning 9 of 15 hard court matches priced between 2.00 and 2.99 in the last 12 months. She’s won a number of three set matches (seven of these nine wins came via a 2-1 set scoreline) and all wins, apart from Alison Riske in the last round here, were by at least a two game margin. All but two came via at least three games.
A deeper look at historical trends in these profiled matches for Zheng also rubber-stamped this tendency, so I’m happy to back Zheng -2.5 games at a generous 2.76.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Back Saisai Zheng -2.5 games at 2.76
Prices correct at time of writing.
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