All lines from DraftKings Sportsbook and are of course subject to change.
As expected, the WTA’s recent resumption has yielded some interesting and unpredictable results. Last week in Palermo, five of the eight seeded players failed to advance past the second round. Predicting match results is difficult enough, but without half a season of results, match statistics, trends and injury updates to analyze, it can be downright scary. Due to the pandemic, both players and bettors are in completely uncharted territory. There’s an element of mystery to almost every player’s current form, so we have to go with what we know—or at least think that we know.
We do know that Evert Academy trainee Alja Tomljanovic resides in Boca Raton, Fla.—just a two-hour flight from Lexington—home of this week’s Top Seed Open. We also know that she was one of the first players to compete during the hiatus, at UTR’s Pro Match Series, where she handily defeated Top-20 player Alison Riske. She then traveled to the Credit One Bank Invitational in Charleston, where she won both her singles matches in straight sets. She was also one of the last players to compete before the restart, in recently concluded World Team Tennis, and although her results were mixed, she’s been on court more than most.
We can’t say the same for her opponent, Yulia Putintseva, who has yet to take the court in any form of competitive match play since February, in Doha. Although we don’t want to put too much stock into exhibition matches, Fiona Ferro would disagree. The Frenchwoman went a perfect 12-0 during mid-pandemic competition, then stormed to the Palermo title, dropping just one set along the way. Her performance should make us think twice about the importance of match play, no matter the format.
Putintseva owns both the WTA ranking and UTR rating advantage, but the oddsmakers favor Tomljanovic, almost assuredly due to her current form being a known quantity, as well as her straight-set victory over the Kazakh in Adelaide to start the year. At (-169), we recommend taking a shot on Tomljanovic to defeat what could be a very rusty Putintseva.