It’s been an exciting week of tennis and we’re into the semi-finals in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Nottingham.
I found two places on the Saturday game slate where value showed up.
Read on for my best bets and previews.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Ekaterina Alexandrova (-116) against Veronika Kudermetova (+100)
5 a.m. ET, WTA’s-Hertogenbosch
Ekaterina Alexandrova defeated Caty McNally in the quarterfinals, winner 6-0, 6-1.
Alexandrova won 80% of her service points and did not face a break point in the entire game. The Russian also won 68% of her return points and broke serve in five of six return games. Alexandrova’s controlled aggression crushed McNally’s game.
Since coming within two points of a first-round loss to Dayana Yastremska, Alexandrova has won six straight sets at ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
She has also won over 70% of her first-serve points for five straight sets. Alexandrova is now 20-13 in her career on grass, with her aggressive, big-serving baseline play creating problems for opponents, in particular. under fast conditions.
Veronika Kudermetova played at an excellent level in her 6-4, 6-2 quarter-final victory over Belinda Bencic.
On her own serve against Bencic, Kudermetova won 75% of her first serves and was unbroken the entire game. On the return, she did a good job of blunting Bencic’s first serve, as she won 39% of her first serve returns and broke Bencic three times. The Russian’s base game was outstanding.
Kudermetova was only broken three times during the week, while keeping each opponent within 70% of their first serves won.
Overall, Kudermetova is 16-11 pro on grass, but her game suits the surface quite well. Kudermetova is aggressive on the return, does a good job of keeping control from the baseline, and she has groundstrokes that cross the court well.
Her comfortable victory over a top player in Bencic showed that she is maturing as a grass-court player and has a better understanding of how to play lawn tennis. Kudermetova moves well on the grass and kicks the ball very well.
Kudermetova absorbs the rhythm well and does not easily give up the baseline. This will come in handy against Alexandrova’s big game, where it becomes very important to get big serves and groundstrokes back into play to force Alexandrova to hit smaller and smaller targets.
Her own serve has been effective this week and she won’t give Alexandrova many chances on the return.
Take: Kudermetova (+100 via FanDuel)
Beatriz Haddad Maia (-140) against Tereza Martincova (+114)
6 a.m. ET, WTA Nottingham
Beatriz Haddad Maia upset Maria Sakkari in three sets to advance to the Nottingham semi-finals.
Haddad Maia won 77% of her service points and was only broken twice in the entire game. On the return, Haddad Maia won 59% of his second-serve return points. The Brazilian looked at home on the grass and figured out how to build points.
Although she is not known as a courtesan on grass, it is no surprise that she has a record of 16-10 on grass during her career. Haddad Maia, runner-up in this year’s Australian Open doubles tournament, looked comfortable going to the net, which is so important on grass.
Haddad Maia also plays an aggressive grassroots style that puts opponents under pressure on faster surfaces.
Tereza Martincova easily defeated Shuai Zhang in straight sets to advance to the semifinals. Martincova served well, winning 71% of her service points and not getting broken all game. She also won 18 of 25 second-serve return points and broke Zhang’s big serve four times.
Martincova has a 22-18 professional record on grass and, although she does not have overwhelming power, she moves well and understands the selection of shots on grass. Martincova moves the ball well down the field and has solid passing shots when opponents come to the net.
While Haddad Maia has the better overall Elo rating of the two, Martincova has the higher Elo on grass. Haddad Maia has a powerful base game and a good net game, but Martincova’s excellent grass movement and precise passing can help extend rallies and make Haddad Maia rethink coming to the net.
Martincova – not known for being a huge server – faced three break points all week and was only broken once. She’s in the zone this week and is using the grass to give her a bit more pop on her serve.
Take: Martincova ML (+114 via FanDuel)