WTA Italian Open Tennis Betting: Halep Looks Hard To Beat
- Simona Halep each-way outright at 5/1 with BetVictor
- Kiki Bertens each-way outright at 10/1 with BetVictor
No woman has completed the Madrid-Rome double since Serena Williams in 2013. Not even Simona Halep, the best clay-court player in recent years, has managed it. That doesn’t mean Bertens can’t win this week, but it does encourage us to consider alternative tennis betting options.
Halep showed she is certainly back to something like her best on her favourite surface. I wouldn’t say she’s playing to her very highest level just yet, but that’s still too good for the vast majority of her rivals on the circuit with the obvious exception of Bertens who beat her in the Madrid final.
The Romanian has reached the final in Rome for the last two years, both times falling to Elina Svitolina. The Ukrainian, not for the first time, was an early casualty in Madrid but that was her first tournament after five weeks off from retiring hurt in Miami with a knee injury.
That knee was clearly bothering her in Madrid as she lost two close sets to Pauline Parmentier. Even with her record in Rome, the 14/1 with BetVictor looks short for a player who appears to be some way short of full fitness.
Long Rallies in the Open Air
Petra Kvitova was the form player on tour before being well beaten by Bertens in the Madrid quarter-finals. After a disappointing first set, the Czech raised her game to make a fight of it in the second. But Bertens responded admirably and ran out a ready winner. While Kvitova has three titles in Madrid (one of those before it switched to clay), she has never made the semis in Rome.
As explained in my last preview, Madrid tends to favour attacking players more than most clay tournaments due to being held in something akin to an indoor complex. Rome could not be more different with the Foro Italico out in the great wide open which has to be taken into account when implementing your tennis betting strategy.
The clay is also slow in the Italian capital. Last year it displaced Madrid as the slowest clay-court tournament on the pre-French Open list. Winners are harder to come by with patience and good scrambling defence rewarded.
The exception to this rule is four-time champion Serena Williams who makes her 2019 clay-court debut in the Eternal City. Even on the slowest courts, Williams can blitz her opponents when on song. But there have to be a fair few doubts surrounding the 23-time Grand Slam title winner who has not played since withdrawing injured from Miami and co-hosted the Met Gala in New York rather than play in Madrid.
Madrid Finalists to Go Far Again
Everything leads back to Bertens and her Madrid final victim Halep. The Dutchwoman had a great week but it is hard to follow up at Rome. She could face Aryna Sabalenka in round three with world number one Naomi Osaka a likely quarter-final opponent. Were she to come through that, Halep would probably await in the semis.
Halep may not have an easy route to the latter stages either with probably either Serena Williams or Sloane Stephens a quarter-final opponent. But on current form, she would have to be favourite against either American.
Angelique Kerber is out with an ankle injury and with Osaka struggling to reach the heights which brought her two consecutive Slams, it is hard to see beyond Bertens and Halep in Rome. Bertens has the tougher path to a potential semi-final meeting and, with the surroundings less likely to suit her more shot-making style, I will go for the former world number one this time.
Based on what we saw in Madrid, the pair are a class above the rest on clay right now and neither had especially gruelling weeks. You certainly can’t accuse the best bookies of over-reacting to recent events with both available at decent each-way prices. Halep at 5/1 with BetVictor would be my main play, but I will be having a small saver on Bertens to follow up at 10/1.
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