WTA Miami – Quarter Final – Simona Halep vs Sloane Stephens

With just four matches in Miami this evening, our choice of bets is somewhat limited.  According to my model, Simona Halep represents the biggest value tonight.

After the early exit of Maria Sharapova, the Romanian can rise to a career-high number two in the world with a strong showing in Florida, and against an opponent who tends to blow hot and cold, I’m backing her to progress to the semi-finals.

On hard court in the last 12 months, Halep has held 69.9% and broken 48.0%, and these are elite level statistics.  The lower-ranked Stephens is understandably worse, at 69.5% and 34.8% respectively.  These hold/break statistics actually form the profile of a ‘big server’ for Stephens, which is somewhat of a surprise – she’s holding above the WTA mean and breaking below it.

Combined, Halep edges these statistics by 13.6%, and this converts to a model price tonight of 1.29, making the 1.36 available in the market around 4% implied value.

Further statistics also favour Halep.  She loses a break lead just 31.6% in the last 12 months, with Stephens’ break deficit recovery atrocious at 29.1%. Therefore if Halep leads by a break she will be likely to be able to maintain it, or improve to a double break.  To put these figures into context, they are around the ATP mean.

These numbers generally reflect a situation where a player is more likely to win a dominant set than average, and this angle is something I’m interested in exploiting for this match.

Halep’s 12-month record when priced between 1.20 and 1.49 is impressive – she’s won 20 of 24 matches in this time period in this price range bracket.  Not only this, she’s won 17 by at least a four game margin, and 14 by at least five games.  Looking at this, it’s clear to see that Halep frequently wins sets and matches by a dominant margin.

Interestingly, she won just 14/24 in straight sets, showing that she frequently drops a set against worse players but wins at least one set dominantly – a profile that is very similar to Andy Murray, and to an extent Novak Djokovic.

Considering Halep has won 17/24 (70.8%) by 4 games or more, the 1.66 (60.2% implied odds) about her winning by at least 3.5 games represents a big edge for tonight’s match, and forms this evening’s recommendation.

Recommendation: Back Simona Halep -3.5 games at 1.66

Price correct at time of writing.

By @Tennisratings.

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