WTA Indian Wells – 3rd Round – Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Sloane Stephens
There’s another tough card tonight at Indian Wells as we look to recover from the disappointment of Donna Vekic’s recommendation on the set handicap on Friday, with the Croatian failing to take the first set from a double break up.
Today we look at the big home hope, Sloane Stephens, who takes on the Russian veteran, Svetlana Kuznetsova. The two players had contrasting second round victories on Friday night, with Stephens continuing Angelique Kerber’s woes in 2015 with an impressive victory, whilst Kuznetsova – in the first set at least – looked very edgy in her win over Katerina Siniakova.
The 12 month hold/break statistics on hard court give Stephens a marginal edge, with the 21 year old American holding 68.9% to Kuznetsova’s 65.8%, and breaking slightly less at 35.2% compared to 35.8%. This combined difference of 2.5% led to a model price of 1.78 on Stephens, making the current market prices of around 1.97 the pair value on her.
Furthermore, Stephens has a strong record at Indian Wells, with a quarter-final showing last year (she lost to eventual winner Flavia Pennetta in three tight sets), and she’s recorded an impressive six wins already in her career as underdog in California, showing that she’s regularly under-rated by the market at this venue.
In additional to this, Stephens, when priced around evens, has a strong record in the last 12 months, winning 13 of 22 matches priced between 1.50 and 2.99, generating a return on investment of 7.7% on Pinnacle Sports’ closing prices.
She’s won 10 out of these 13 in straight sets, and all but two victories came by at least a 3 game margin. Kuznetsova has lost seven of eleven defeats in the same price range by a 2-0 scoreline, and again all but two came via 3 games or more.
With the 2-0 win for Stephens being priced at 3.40, and -2.5 games on the game handicap 2.34, the historical stats give us some scope to take an aggressive line on the set handicap and back Stephens to win in straight sets at a large price this evening.
Recommendation: Back Sloane Stephens to win 2-0 at 3.40.
Prices correct at time of writing.