Lucie Safarova v Shuai Peng – WTA Taiwan – Semi-Final
Saturday sees the WTA semi-finals in Taiwan and St. Petersburg take place, and the event in Taiwan presents us with a handicap betting proposition, with Lucie Safarova taking on Shuai Peng for a place in the final.
Both players have struggled with injury in recent times, with Safarova having a truncated 2016 following injury and illness issues, whilst Peng is still battling to recover her ranking having missed almost an entire year after an injury from the French Open in May 2015.
Peng has taken a while to recover a reasonable level, but her statistics certainly indicate that she is on the correct path, and she represents value for this match.
Peng is already receiving market support, being backed in to 2.22 currently from an opening line of 2.40.
This is far from a surprise, given that my model made the Chinese player a marginal favourite for the match.
The Tournament So Far
Safarova has won all three matches this week in straight sets, although it’s worth pointing out that she was a sub-1.50 favourite in all of them.
Peng has also progressed with three 2-0 victories, and her progress is a little more impressive considering the fact that she has won more matches by a greater game margin, despite being priced sub-1.50 just once, and she was underdog in the second round against Katerina Siniakova.
On hard or indoor hard courts in the last 12 months, the serve-orientated Safarova has the edge on serve, holding serve 73.7% compared to Peng’s 64.8%, but the Czech player is significantly worse on return, breaking opponents 22.5% – one of the worst figures on the WTA Tour. Peng has broken opponents much more, doing so 37.5% of the time.
It’s difficult to use many historical trends for Peng, given her absence from tour and the long subsequent rebuilding process, but from 2013 onwards, all but one of her wins on hard or indoor hard courts when a slight underdog came via at least two games.
Ideally I’d prefer to take Peng -1.5 games tomorrow, but the markets for an underdog giving up a head start are not available.
However, Peng has taken at least a set in 16/22 of these matches in that time period (72.7%) and this offers implied odds of 1.38, indicating value on the 1.51 about the Chinese player +1.5 sets tomorrow.
Tennis Handicap Betting Recommendation: Shuai Peng +1.5 sets at 1.51
Prices correct at time of writing.
Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage, winners welcome!