Betting Central

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COVID-19 eliminated Johanna Konta before the Olympics even started—but the Brit, now back in action, looked extremely fit in her 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, victory over Elina Svitolina on Wednesday. According to Konta, she experienced “a massive range of symptoms” and it was “definitely the worst illness I’ve experienced for a very long time.”

She now takes her pinpoint and piercing ball-striking against Coco Gauff, for a spot in the quarterfinals. The last time they faced—in an extremely cold match at the 2020 French Open—Gauff won handily, 6-3, 6-3.

After skyrocketing up the rankings at such a young age, betting on Gauff became nearly impossible, as oddsmakers were making her an extreme favorite in most encounters. She was such a public bet that it became necessary for betting houses to hedge. But things have thankfully returned to normal, and she has been a solid play in recent months. She covered her spread in her opening-round match against Anastasija Sevastova, and was well on pace to cover her -4.5 game spread against Ana Potopova before the Russian withdrew down 0-5 in the first set.

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Konta will need to play with great depth to Gauff’s backhand side. If she doesn’t, Gauff will rip to the corners and force her to defend.

It’s no secret that Gauff much prefers her backhand wing to her forehand, which has been known to break down under pressure. But Konta’s extremely flat ball shouldn’t trouble that side too much. It’s harder for players—of all levels—with a shaky side to hit a clean strike off a heavy, looping ball than a flat one.

Konta, much prefers offense to defense, but will need to play with great depth to Gauff’s backhand side. If she doesn’t, Gauff will rip to the corners and force her to defend.

Not only should Gauff love defending Konta’s hard-hit shots, she should be able to force Konta into tough positions with her big first-serve, power, and net coverage.

The Pick: Coco Gauff -4